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When an elite SWAT team goes after a drug lord holed up in Jakarta's most notorious tenement building, they find themselves trapped and forced to fight their way out through brutal gangsters loyal to the kingpin they were trying to assassinate. Any fans of the horror or action genres are sure to find this plot very interesting and to hold true potential. The filmmakers decided to waste no time as the story jumps into the action fairly quickly. Before that occurs, we get a little bit of a backstory in terms of whom they are trying to assassinate and the few main fighters' backgrounds. Once the brutality begins, it doesn't let up until the credits start rolling. Those looking for an action flick with character development will not find that here. However, The Raid: Redemption offers so much tension that it will leave viewers with his or her eyes glued to the screen and their fingernails digging into the armrest. The action sequences are insane and just as you're thinking that the one seen cannot be topped, the next fight scene does! The screenplay isn't perfect, but it's pretty solid compared to the majority of movies from this genre. The story goes deeper than just the drug lord as it also involves conspiracies and subplots. The amount of beatings these fighters can take are just as one would imagine, very unrealistic and ridiculous. Don't expect to see anything realistic when it comes to the fighting sequences here. Just be prepared for some insanely brutal fighting scenes that will leave you with your jaw dropped. Since The Raid: Redemption is from Indonesia, the actors aren't recognizable to me. However, the cast handles the material well. While there aren't necessarily standout performances here, the overall cast is good. They're convincing enough in their characters for us to become invested in the SWAT team and root for them.
When action filmmakers try to put style over substance and fail with the action sequences, then there's nothing left for us to enjoy. However, The Raid: Redemption has a good balance, yet still delivers on every level with the action. To use one word to describe the visuals here, it would be brutal. The stunts are exceptional and much better than American martial arts flicks. Fortunately, director/writer Gareth Evans wasn't afraid to pack this full of grit, gore, and carnage. The Raid: Redemption pushes a lot of limits and leaves us with one hell of an impressive show. One of the most important things is that it never becomes repetitive. There are a lot of different stunts and the violence is constantly showing different heroes with different fighting techniques fighting his way through each level. The camera work is great, as well. This could have easily turned into a hand-held disaster, but it's never difficult to tell what's going on. The audio is excellent, so make sure to see this one with a strong audio system. The music composed by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Joseph Trapanese fits the gritty atmosphere. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the album. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised the film passed through the MPAA so easily with an R rating. This is one of the most violent martial arts movies I've ever seen.
The Raid: Redemption deserves the positive buzz. To put it simply, I really enjoyed this movie. By the end of the movie, you feel beaten up yourself from how intense this movie gets. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true that this film exhausts you by the time it's over from how much it involves the audience. Needless to say, this isn't for the younger audiences, so leave the kids at home. If you can stomach the grotesque nature of this motion picture and enjoy martial arts and action flicks, The Raid: Redemption comes with a high recommendation to you. The film offers everything any action/martial arts fan would ever wish for. With the exceptional stunt work and incredibly violent fight scenes, we're also presented with a worthwhile plot and decent acting. This movie left me so excited, it had me wanting to see it again. I'm sure it sounds like I'm exaggerating how good this movie is, but if this is a genre you really enjoy, you'll see that I really am not. Those who aren't interested in this type of motion picture, stay far away. The Raid: Redemption is one hell of a fun ride that I can't wait to experience again.