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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Martial arts film includes good editing, action

Redemption
Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) positions himself for a firefight after his group’s cover is blown in The Raid: Redemption. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics
Redemption
Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) positions himself for a firefight after his group’s cover is blown in The Raid: Redemption.
Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

The Raid: Redemption is pure action-porn. Like, immaculately conceived newborn in a freshly tailored suit drinking water from the Ganges, pure.
The movie takes place in an apartment building owned by Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy), a firmly entrenched drug lord who has filled his building with marauders, drug chemists and assorted wanted men. Twenty SWAT police, including rookie and main character Rama (Iko Uwais), assault the building in the eponymous raid. There’s a 10-minute lead-up explaining the situation (“Why now?” “Why the [puppies!] not?”) the entirety of the runtime takes place during the raid.
This movie is awesome and extremely well put-together. Though it’s clearly a martial arts movie, it doesn’t abandon other aspects of storytelling as so many chop-socky movies do. The story is woven deep within and never stops developing. The actors, through five-minute fight scenes and insane panning shots, never drop character.

The Raid’s editing is amazing. The extended action sequences are all given healthy but not excessive chunks of time. The entire raid could be the climax of a larger story, and within it are fight scenes that have their own climaxes. Just when the audience thinks it can’t be any more exciting, the intensity compounds once more.

On top of all these aspects that would make a standard movie good, the action is unbelievable. Characters begin scenes speaking at a regular tempo, but between the dialogue and the action, it looks like someone hit the fast forward button.

The film focuses on Pencak Silat, which is comprised of martial art forms native to Indonesia. The form is brutal, fresh — it only became organized in 1948, making it a newborn among martial arts forms — and immensely fun to watch.

Writer/director Gareth Evans’ filmography seems dedicated to bringing the style to a wider audience. This is his second collaboration with Uwais, who went from truck driver to movie star when Evans found him in a dojo while filming a documentary on forms of Silat.

Martial arts movies aren’t for everyone, but if one even mildly enjoys them, The Raid is a must-watch. Screen Gems has already got the rights to an English-language remake (this one’s in Indonesian), and, sure as you’re born, Hollywood will find a way to mess this one up. See it now.

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