As a kid, my favorite films were action, especially ones starring Jackie Chan, where people used hand-to-hand combat as opposed to guns or swords to defeat their foes. As the years went on and I got older, those movies never got too popular and I didn’t see them as often as I did when I was younger. Chan has making those films since then, but for a while Hollywood and other places started producing more elegant, whimsical, and traditional martial arts films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which I loved, but it wasn’t the kind of brute action I still loved. I found what I was looking for a few times in recent years from Tony Jaa, but not much else.
Now, me and other fans like me have a new hope. The Raid: Redemption has no background story or purpose, nor does it need one. The plot is simple: a group of policemen are attempting to overtake a large apartment building controlled by a crime lord. You learn this in the first few minutes. The rest of the film is just action, pure and simple.
Welsh writer/director Gareth Evans is a young, promising director, now having two Indonesian action films under his belt with a third on the way. With the huge amounts of success The Raid: Redemption has seen all over the world, it is good to have hope that someone could be writing and directing these awesome action films for a long time to come.
The lead of the film is Iko Uwais, an Indonesian who has been training in traditional martial arts [Silat] since he was 10. He won the national championship for Silat demonstration in 2005, and in 2007, when Evans was visiting his school, he was discovered to be a more than capable martial arts actor. This is Evans’ second film starring Uwais, and the two are currently working on another, which I believe to be a sequel to Raid. He is a terrific martial arts performer. Both Uwais and the choreographer combine to bring us some incredible action and stunts that I have never seen before. Uwais, along with Evans, should be big names for a long time.
Now, be warned! This film includes a lot of really violent stuff and a lot of people die in some ugly ways. Don’t watch this film if you aren’t prepared for such material.
3.5/4 – A film consisting 10% of a simple story, just enough to give a man a reason to fight and a reason to live. The other 90% is new, breathtaking, and violent action that I’ve not seen from a movie in far too long.