The Raid: Redemption

EntertainmentMoviesBruce LeeSteven SeagalBruce WillisChuck NorrisQuentin Tarantino

While waiting for my friend to show up at the Hillcrest Landmark, I felt a migraine coming on. I asked him to bring me some pills for it. I was able to keep the pain in check, but it was a mistake to see this movie, which has more gunfire than I think I’ve seen in any film previously (including war movies).

The story involves a rookie cop for a special-forces team that is raiding an apartment building that a crime lord runs. I’m not sure how the “redemption” fits into the title, as we’re not given a lot of back story (or much of any story, really).

As the raid takes place, it seems the elite cops will be able to easily take out their man. Even the Lieutenant, who is sporting a polo shirt underneath his bullet proof vest and a head of white hair, seems to think this will be a piece of cake (I’m guessing the director didn’t want him wearing a helmet, so we always know his whereabouts).

The film was written, directed, edited, and choreographed by Gareth Evans. And he does a fun job with the fighting scenes, but they got repetitive by the third act. Now, I remember as a kid enjoying Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris movies. When I was in 8th grade and I went to the theatre, excited to see the first Steven Seagal movie, the thrill of the martial art films was gone.

In this, I liked the bad guy giving threats through the intercom speakers, and wearing flip flops. The stunts were a blast. There was another bad guy that liked to finish people off with his bare hands (because shooting them would be “like ordering take-out”). That seemed a bit silly, but hey…it gave an excuse for more fighting; but by the time he gets into the big showdown many were waiting for, I had grown tired of all the carnage.

Action fans are really going to love this movie. Even the critics are praising it (not sure why). For folks that don’t like subtitles (this is Indonesian), no need to worry. You don’t need to translate a karate chop to the rib cage, or a body slam onto a table, or a knife stuck in the neck. I do have to admit that a few of the sound effects were intriguing.

Critics will often say of a bad movie “This should go straight to video.” I think this should go straight to video game. That’s what it felt like so often. One bad guy charging the cop with a machete, followed by the guy screaming with a large knife (who is thrown out a window), followed by two guys who each take their turns getting beat up.

I’m guessing Quentin Tarantino has seen this movie 10 times by now. I prefer a little more in the way of a story, but it gets bonus points for not using the shaky cam.

It gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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