Heard plenty of good things about The Raid: Redemption, and being a fan of action films, I just had to give it a try.
Filmed in Jakarta, Indonesia, The Raid: Redemption starts out really, really well. In fact, the opening of the film reminded me in a very pleasant way to what I consider one of director John Carpenter’s very best films, Assault on Precinct 13 (the original 1976 version, not the pretty lame 2005 remake).
The plot of The Raid is simple yet very effective: A group of young SWAT officers is tasked to silently enter a fortified building within the Jakarta slums. Their mission is seek out and apprehend the crime lord that runs that building and bring him to justice. However, halfway up the building the hunters become the hunted when the many criminals residing within the building target the SWAT team.
There are a few other plot flourishes I won’t get into but suffice to say the film is a lean, mean action adventure that should satisfy most fans of this type of genre.
If there are any quibbles I have with the film, it is that there are several martial arts-type fights that, frankly, took me out of the nitty gritty nature of the film. Allow me to elaborate. In the movie’s early going, the sense of claustrophobia and the real fear of sudden death lurking behind any corner were very effective. You had a sense that the SWAT members were trapped in a hell where they would have to claw their way to freedom.
However, by the time the remaining SWAT members were down to using their fists and knives against the many villains they faced, the protracted fight scenes unfortunately resembled more typical martial art films and removed me from the more noir elements present up until that point.
Please note, though, that this is a relatively small quibble. There is word that producers in the United States are working on a remake of the film. I’m not terribly surprised. This is the type of feature that should be easily translated for American audiences. There is very little that need be changed.
So if you’re in the mood for a solid action film, you could do far worse than spend some time watching The Raid.