The Raid: Redemption
Hey, any film that boasts Iko Uwais as the headliner can’t be all bad, right?
OK, 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 “vermin” intruders.
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