On the first Tuesday of every month, UT Libraries hosts an installment of its Foreign and Independent Film Series. The first film this semester was “The Raid: Redemption,” shown Tuesday evening.
“The Raid: Redemption” is an Indonesian film directed by Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim and Donny Alamsyah, as well as many others. The film was released in 2011 under the title “The Raid" but was re-released in the U.S. as "The Raid: Redemption" on March 23, 2012. The change in the title had to due with certain copyright issues.
The movie focuses on the drug trade in Indonesia. In the plot, a squad of officers are sent to a building that has known traces of one of the leaders Tama of an underground drug ring. They are led by Lieutenant Jaka, portrayed by Joe Taslim, and go through many struggles to get to the drug lord, such as a rainstorm of bullets and many lost lives.
Throughout the movie, Rama, portrayed by Iko Uwais, fights his way through the struggle as his will to live is his pregnant wife. He also finds out that his brother Andi, portrayed by Donny Alamsyah, has been working with Tama and tries to convince him to come home.
I personally thought the movie was just okay. It didn’t really have that much of a backstory, which I was hoping it would. I also think that it leaves a few questions unanswered; then again, they may be answered in the film’s sequel “The Raid 2.” I just wanted to know what made Andi want to work with Tama, what made Rama want to become a cop and what made some of the cops, who obviously had a power complex, accept dirty money from these drug lords.
What I did really like, however, were the fight scenes. They were centered around Indonesian martial arts and were just choreographed extremely well. I would watch the sequel if all of the fight scenes were like that.
The scenes added a layer of excitement and for a brief moment before they started slamming peoples’ faces into walls; it did take away from the fact that there were bullet ridden bodies scattered around the floor. It felt like you were just watching a match of sorts.
My favorite scene overall would have to be when the brothers reunite and take down another one of Tama’s men called Mad Dog. Mad Dog was honestly one of my favorite characters because he seems like a really scrawny guy who is just there to do a job. But when he gets fired up, he is nearly unstoppable, and it just caught me off guard.
This scene, in particular, was showing how the two brothers do still care about and love each other, and I thought it was sweet, despite the fact that they were fighting someone.
Aside from Mad Dog, I also really liked Jaka as a character. He didn’t want to believe that a lot of his men were dead, and he wanted to find them all so that they could get out and go home. He is one of the strongest, both physically and mentally, and he just wanted his men to make it out alive.
Overall, I think the movie is great if you are really into gory action films. For me, I am not that into action movies, which is kind of funny since I liked the fight scenes. But, I wouldn’t watch it again for anything other than those fight sequences. Other than those particular scenes and the few characters I liked, there isn’t much that would draw me back into it.
The film has strong dialogue and was shot well, and it also involves characters that you do root for and that you become invested in. Ultimately, however, I think that they could have done more as far as background goes because I feel like it would’ve been easier to follow and get into.