The Raid: Redemption
Hey, any film that boasts Iko
Uwais as the headliner can’t be all bad, right?
so it’s hard to hear sarcasm in print. But it’s just
a light attempt at humor, in order to introduce a movie that’s
anything but humorous, and anything but light.
“The Raid” begins with a
cold-blooded execution from the bad guys, so that we will then know
that we need to root hard for the police S.W.A.T. team that’s
sitting in the truck, about to invade the urban lair of the drug
overlord. The nervous lieutenant, Rama (Uwais), has
already been shown, briefly, saying good-bye to his pregnant wife that
morning, and (also briefly) physically training by himself), just so
we know that the good guy is both a family man and a hard worker.
He’ll need to be all of that and more to survive this one.
Of course, in the urban
invasion, as in all armed combat, nothing goes as planned. Their
attempts at stealth are spoiled by “sentry” kids sounding the
alarm (no audience would sympathize with police who kill children,
even if they are sentries for the drug lords). So now the
S.W.A.T. team is trapped inside a locked building housed with tenants
who owe their allegiance to the Mafioso drug lord, who then uses the
building’s loudspeaker to call all his henchmen to arms to fight the
After the decimating blazing gun
battles with machine guns, the beleaguered survivors are left to run,
hide, and engage in close-quarter hand combat, utilizing the
Indonesian version of martial arts called Silat. Sure,
it’s choreographed, but brilliantly so. It looks very
realistic, extremely physical, and unapologetically violent. The
only unrealistic part is how many times these guys get up from
seemingly disabling blows, but then, what fun is hand-to-hand combat
unless you can make it last more than two seconds?
Other than the
search-and-destroy story line, there is a modicum of plot: it
turns out that there is an “insider” in the drug lord’s inner
circle, but also a “dirty” cop, so that spies are everywhere and
allegiances can be fluid and fickle. Just because
you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. The
language, also, is suitable for gutter brawling, but somehow when
it’s all in subtitles, some of the scatological forcefulness
dissipates in the pixels somewhere. Other than precious
little pre-game warm-up, this one is in your face from start to
finish. It’s certainly not for the weak-stomached or
the faint at heart. That just-purchased hot dog with
ketchup will suddenly not be very appealing. But this
obscure offering literally packs a wallop.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim
Pastor, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas