The Raid: Redemption
Brutally Attractive but Only for Those Who Are Into It
23 March 2012
Director: Gareth Huw Evans
Producer: Ario Sagantoro
Scriptwriting: Gareth huw Evans
Casts: Iko Uwais / Yayan Ruhian / Ray Sehetapy / Donny Alamsyah
Cinematography: Matt Flannery
Editing: Gareth Huw Evans
Music: Fajar Yuskemal / Aria Prayogi
Studio: Merantau Films
Distributor: Celluloid Nigthmares (world wide) /Sony Pictures Classic (US)
Running Time: 94 minutes
Budget: $ 1,1 million
The Raid is the first Indonesian local film booming globally in the whole world, including in America. Compliments for this film were acknowledged seeing the breakthrough on the action. It might be something to be proud of, but is it true that its explicit brutality would be the one we remember from the film as the transformation agent of Indonesian cinema?
Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais ever worked together previously for Merantau with earthier story. On the contrary, The Raid does not focus on the story but the violent action only. The plot was minimized so that the action could be exploited as maximum as possible. The story is simple, a team of special ops troop was sent to a run-down 15-floor apartment as the base of crooked criminals lead by the boss, Tama (Ray Sahetapy). With Jaka (Joe Taslim) as the commander, they infiltrated the building silently to capture Tama in the top floor as the target. In their way ahead, the infiltration was compromised. Every way out was blocked and Tama sent all of his men to kill them. Jaka, Rama (Iko Uwais), our hero, and the other team members could not do anything but survive for their life.
Yes, it’s a pure action film but it doesn’t mean that the rationality of the story can be put aside. Tama ordered to close all the entrance, exit, and communication access to the building. How could they block the communication? It’s strange none of the elite team members had any communication device to call for back up. Their panzer outside was heavily fired with the machine gun while the traffic on the background looks as if nothing happened. In the early story, there were two snipers in the building across who shot every one of the team members outside, even the ones inside near the window, where were they then? Another question, how could a 15-floor apartment have wooden floor instead of concrete?
Some scenes especially on the bare hand fight look so great thanks to the impressive and professional choreography by Uwais and Ruhian himself. Shot distant and various angle combined with fine editing result in exciting fighting sequences. What becomes the concern here is its excessive violence. Never in a film could breaking a neck look as realistic and dramatic as this, making you frightened and terrified. Technical achievement and brutality seem to be the main reasons of why the foreign audience and critics like it so much. Personally, this film is nothing more than something for the movie goers who love to watch violent and gory action. (Score: D)
Editor and senior writer at Montase, lecturer at film academy in Yogyakarta, film critics, and author of the book ‘Memahami Film’ (Understanding Films)