Indonesian CQC Porn: A Review of THE RAID: REDEMPTION

A while ago, I coined the term “Gore Porn” for Laid to Rest 2, and now I feel the need to once again, throw porn into my title. Now, The Raid: Redemption is far better than that half-good slasher, but the idea still applies. The overuse of an element to get a stimulus from the audience is considered “porn” in my eyes. Though Eli Roth despises the term, “torture porn,” it is still an adequate description of the intent of Hostel. Of course, the definition of pornography is not relevant here; it is just a matter of labeling.

The Raid (I will drop the “redemption” part from here on out), is concerned with giving the viewer a nonstop ride through brutal hand-to-hand combat (or CQC= close quarters combat). I loved the trailer for the film; it looked like everything I would want from an action film. But, I was worried that The Raid would get bogged down with too much violence and not enough substance. I was wrong, thankfully. The Raid was one of best action films that I have ever seen. I mean that too, I am not just saying that to sound dramatic. I have seen a number of films (as you may know), and no action film can touch this right now. Of course, I have not seen everything either, so I am basing this on my knowledge of film. The Raid is probably going to be the best action film of 2012, hands down.

The Raid’s story is simple at first, and revealing too much will ruin your experience, so I’ll give the most basic of expositions. Rama (Iko Uwais) is a Special Forces police officer who is about to go on a mission with about twenty other men to infiltrate a thirty story apartment complex. The complex is run by a crime lord and those living in the building are his “minions” or sorts. The Special Force’s task is to kill the crime lord, and keep those who are non-violent, alive. Rama wakes up early, practices his martial arts, and kisses his pregnant wife goodbye. The infiltration goes well, for a bit. But, things go badly and the situation becomes complicated, leaving Rama in a fight for his life.

I guess I should address the most marketed aspect of the film, the violence. While there is a fair amount of gunplay in The Raid, the movie shines when martial arts is on screen. Never have I seen such brutality with physical violence. I literally (yes, I used that correctly) cringed at certain moments as dudes are punched TO DEATH. The environment in the fights is used to the character’s advantage, as people are thrown against walls, down shafts, and out windows. In one particular scene, a wooden door is broken and splintered, Rama throws a dudes neck onto the splintered wood, which almost decapitates the man. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Not only is the punching and kicking phenomenal, but there are some excellent stabbing scenes. Alright, that sounds a bit weird, but there ARE some realistic knife slashing scenes. Another highlight is an officer stabbing a derelict in the face several times with a bowie knife, and there is no cutaway.

It all looks amazing as well, the violence, that is. Director Gareth Evans (he didn’t do it directly, but you know what I mean) used a nice mix of CG and practical effects so well that it was believable the whole time. Horror directors should take note because they made this movie for only a little over a million dollars. I guess I can’t relate an Indonesian film’s budget to an American one due to not knowing the process of making a film over there, but it still says something.

The character of Rama is remarkable. Early on, before they enter the building, he shows that he has principles during a situation regarding a tenant, and thus sets up the arc for Rama. Rama is not a grunt or a violence-machine (though, he is pretty good at that), he is a man of values and intelligence. Several times in the script, Rama’s plans save either his or many other people’s lives. It might be a little ridiculous at how well he can clean up a corridor of dudes with only his fists, but you have to let it slide due to the fact that he is looks so damn cool doing it. Later on, your love for Rama will deepen, not sexually (though, there is nothing wrong with that) as another character is introduced to add to Rama’s arc.

The Raid is amazing, but I only had one thing that bothered me. As much as Rama is fleshed out throughout the film, there is a lack of heart in the script. The film never hits that sentimental note, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, The Raid certainly makes up for it with its action. It’s just that The Raid felt that it was going somewhere with the emotional material, but it never got there. I won’t fault the movie too much for that, it’s still fantastic.

The Raid: Redemption (I used it again. SO WHAT?) is probably going to be the best action film of 2012. I have never witnessed a film with so much stylized and brutal violence that was actually decent through the entire runtime. It’s a shame that The Raid is only being shown in select theaters because any lover of the days of violent action films should not pass this up. If you can, please find a theater to check this out. Your jaw will drop and you will probably rethink action films in the States when the credits roll, but that’s actually a good thing. Have fun.

(9/10)

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About Jesse Bartel

I write about stuff.
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  • dixie

    Is that really awesome ?
    I guess I’ll need to check this out. (So, I’m developping some interest too LOL)
    Thank you for writing this review.