The Raid: Redemption
Director & Screenwriter: Gareth Huw Evans Rama and his special forces team fight their way through a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord. Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno (US Premiere)
Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)
WHO'S IT FOR? If you love bloody and intense action movies (and can deal with subtitles), don't miss this one.
With an appetite for action like no other, The Raid: Redemption is a monumental moment for the genre that does not recognize limits. This intense film delivers as many action sequences as it can fit into its running time, and orchestrates each climactic dance of head smashes and stomach kicks with unforgettable finales. Made in Indonesia by a Welsh filmmaker, it's the way that extreme action should be - and absolutely the way it should look.
Packing in what must be more than a thousand kicks and punches, The Raid: Redemption soon chooses martial arts (a style called Pencak Silat) over gunplay (as one villain states before a massive fight, "Pulling the trigger is like ordering take out.") The film's many fight sequences, which usually blast away for five straight pummeling minutes, are captured expertly by fluid visuals that resist action movie tropes like shaky camerawork or over-glorfiying slow motion.
While its bloody beauty does provide what most action fans would ask for as their last meal, this is also a writer's movie. Evans has created an exciting premise that doesn't get tiresome, and it leads to a heavy amount of overwhelming tension. The Raid: Redemption becomes a strong story of someone having to fight for their life for survival, while barreling through henchmen audiences will actually worry about. With his concrete narrative as foundation, Evans is able to make his visually arresting fight scenes even more welcomed.
Adding even more juice to the movie's raw awesomeness is a gritty electronic score by Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese, who use the swelling rhythms of dubstep to achieve excellent crescendos during and after a fight. With their ear-catching (but not distracting) score, the duo give dubstep a prominent debut in the ever-evolving of film scoring.
Definitely bound to leave you limping out of the theater, The Raid: Redemption is also destined to assume the same throne of the genre's prestige bestowed to previous imports like Ong Bak or Oldboy. And if writer/director Christopher Nolan doesn't bring his grade-A action game this summer with The Dark Knight Rises, this one can boast an even stronger guarantee of being this year's must-experience action movie.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10