The Raid: Redemption seemed to spring up out of nowhere earlier this year. I was quietly going about my business and then it was all over the place. I began to see a lot of positive buzz surrounding this Indonesian action film, with a lot of praise for its extensive action sequences and impressive fight choreography. Being a big fan of action and martial arts films, I knew I had to see it. See it I did. Believe me when I tell you it is a thing of beauty. It is an action film that caters to the adrenaline junkie unlike most films hitting the screens these days.
While the action is glorious this movie is not quite perfect. There is a lack of story and character development; it is not completely absent, but it is certainly not a priority. The Raid: Redemption is more a pure exercise in genre filmmaking; it is much more about creating hard hitting action than trying to comment on society or the human condition. It is art in the execution. Story is not always a necessary piece of the puzzle when creating cinema.
Yes, there is a story, but it is just enough to get you into the movie and is developed just enough to keep you involved. It is just lip service to get you from point A to point everyone-gets-the-snot-beat-out-of-them. The tag line essentially lays out all you really need to know: "1 Ruthless Crime Lord, 20 Elite Cops, 30 Floors of Chaos." This is a pure action movie, and all it truly cares about is the execution of the violence. Where some see repetitive fights and shootouts with little else to cling to, the genre fan sees inventively vicious fights, a team of talented martial artists and stuntmen, and a nice build from the initial blows to the final showdown. Plot is of little consequence when the orchestra of fists play this well.
The story follows a police tactical unit embarking on a raid of an apartment building that doubles as a crime boss's compound. It is a building that has long been a no-go zone for the police. A police lieutenant has set up the attack, although some of the men on the team question the timing, wondering "why now?" Some truths will be learned, but before that time, there is plenty of fighting to be had.
The police enter the building and quietly begin to take control, floor by floor. The last thing they want is for word to get to the boss and him to unleash his attack forces. Well, floor six proves to be a sticking point as they are spotted and the alarm is triggered. The crime boss locks the building down, let's the tenants know his building is being attacked, and promptly puts a bounty on the heads of the police infestation. This leads to an outpouring of bounty hunters seeking to take down some cops.