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With Jim Sabatini

Raid - The Redemption

Raid - The Redemption
Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Tegar Setrya and Ray Sahetapy

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: March 23, 2012 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Full-tilt grind-house material pulsates from the ominous soundtrack to the performances, knowing how to shift its gears in thrilling fashion through its bloody, violent excess.
The slick Indonesian (fully subtitled) import Raid: The Redemption uses an abandoned government building as an important (early) set-piece in its fierce determination through and around logic. Much so that funky cult purists will be wildly caught up in authentically vicious martial-arts mayhem.
Rama (Iko Uwais) is the key, memorable character as the neophyte in an elite special forces unit caught up in an assault on a high-rise Jakarta tenement. Infiltrating and eliminating wicked underworld heavy Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and his drug operation becomes drastic as criminals turns the tables as an enforcing body perilously work their way up the edifice.
With enough gore and then some for real grand Grand Guignol (and a couple of cheeky wise-aleck lines), helmer Gareth Evans (resettled to Southeast Asia from Wales) has a swagger for handling unoriginal genre trappings in ways that would have stalwarts John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino, as well as Guy Ritchie smiling at. One that makes past Hollywood blockbusters like Die Hard almost idling by comparison.
An elemental narrative blueprint allows for enough character nuance as a mission abruptly changes around its halfway point that keeps it more unpredictable than the recent high-tech film honoring intrepid Navy Seals, Act of Valor.
Uwais understands Evans's intent as the filmmakers' western sensibilities play a factor in the fashioning unrelenting visceral action with a kind of black-market haywire passion to the glory of grind house yesteryear.

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