The Raid – Redemption is a loud, macho bore fest
This third feature from Welsh director Gareth Evans, The Raid: Redemption bounds to the UK after success and wins at the Toronto and Deauville Asian film festivals in hope of building upon the praise amassed thus far.
Set in a Jakartan slum, an elite squad of soldiers are ordered to raid the tenement of a notorious criminal, Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy). Led by Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) and Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), the dynamic squad storm the 30-storey building, determined to take the evil mob boss down. Yet, when the building’s crooked residents are urged by Tama to unite against the soldiers, the odds are suddenly compromised and a chaotic battle between the two sides reign in the high-rise building.
As I approached the screening of The Raid: Redemption my intuition sparked up, flaring hot arcs of red worry inside me. Whether it was the impressively underwhelming synopsis of the film or that the mediocre video game website IGN was holding the screening, I wasn’t sure, but I knew the coming hour and a half was going to be dire. Sadly, I was unflatteringly accurate. Subjected to 101 minutes exactly of poorly written, noisy, unintelligent garbage, with a narrative so slight that by the half way point the characters could have finished their objective and clocked off early: it was all in all, a great deal worse than my hunch had pre-empted.
The Raid: Redemption is a dull film, one that applies its arsenal of staggeringly uninventive ideas to wafer thin characterisation and plot, at a skewed and thuddingly slow pace. With its saturation of fight scenes and mouthy, teenage dialogue, you feel as if you are personally taking a beating by a gang of feckless yobs, rather than watching “The best action movie in a decade”, so quoted by the film poster. Incidentally, the most disheartening aspect about this meat-headed landfill is the physical skill and ability of the cast, noticeably Iko Uwais, who stars as the protagonist Rama, and Yayan Ruhian, playing Tama’s right-hand man, Mad Dog. Neither can really act but both do display a penchant for lightning-fast moves and hold a poise, the likes of which are seen only in greatly practised martial artists. However, no matter the individual skill or the above-average fight choreography, when these aspects are relayed to the audience by a director who can’t actually shoot coherently all it leaves you is a colourless, uninspiring residue.
To not be impressively bored by this rotten celluloid-egg, honestly requires the viewer to have the mental capacity of a toadstool: it is shockingly macho, head-thumpingly boring and so, so, SO unaware of itself. Nearly everything it throws at the screen is either an overwrought cliché or a series of unrelentingly violent and monotonous fight scenes. The only positive taken from The Raid: Redemption is that I hope this bilge has increased and fortified my intuitions capacity, but even with that possibility, Evans and co have still robbed an hour and a half from my life. Avoid this film like the bubonic plague.
Watch the trailer for The Raid: Redemption here