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So my dad came to visit recently and brought with him some DVDs. I am not much of an action-drama person but I remember seeing the trailer for this film in the cinema some time ago so I decided to give it a watch. Warning its extremely bloody and violent and so definitely only for over 18's!
- Plot -
It is set in Indonesia with english subtitles. Iko Uwais plays Rama, our highly skilled and new highly armed member of the paramilitary special forces unit in Jakarta. Rama has left his pregnant wife at home, kissing her belly with the promise baby is not to arrive until he returns. The premise is a team of 20 police officers attempt to raid a building owned by a notorious gang. With 15 floors to get through it is filled with pace and riveting action. The police get through to floor 4 with ease, acting cautiously and skilfully to either execute or silence anyone they come across. However this is until they see a child who spots them and sets off an alarm alerting the "top dog" as it were of their company. From this point on the "neighbours" are alerted with the simple command "you know what to do."
All outside officers, patrolling the vicinity are obliterated and dead within seconds. Our head drug lord Tama has now locked down the building and told all members of the block that they have "unwelcome visitors" on floor 6 and that they are to be got rid of. With such a challenge and all of the officers dropping like flies as they are outstandingly outnumbered, will they continue with their mission or retreat back down to floor 1 and attempt an almost impossible escape?
- My Opinion -
There is a sense of mystery which keeps the story flowing throughout this film. The team is led by Sergeant Jaka, under the guidance of Lieutenant Wahyu. Wahyu is seemingly under orders for someone else as to the necessity of the raid. However he will not spill as to the reasons why they are there, and why it is no-one else who they work with knows they are doing the operation. The film is a tale torn between police corruption and also morality and principles. Why are the people in the block so loyal and will the raid change anything?
The music and the sound effects are one of the best aspects about this film. In sequences of intensity and ambiguity as to what is going to happen next the film often goes mute, so as to create an aura of quiet compatible with the officers movements so it really feels like I am in the movie! When the action recurs it is often met with a surge of heavy bass tones which reflect the pounding of adrenaline which no doubt the officers feel as they are trying to outwit and of course use skill in terms of fighting. The scenes are shot quite openly, with amazing camera angles to capture the ferocity of the motion. It was a bit monotonous in that literally all the floors of the building seemed to look the same and reminded me of Saw II with the old wooden doors and flooring everywhere, but I can only suspect this is to compliment the theme of it being in a run down area of Jakarta where there's hardly going to be laminate flooring and pristine walls!
The choreography of the fight sequences were amazing and (no offence!) far better than anything I have ever seen in a Jackie Chan movie. In the film the fight scenes are depicted with the traditional Indonesian martial art pencak silat which I thought brought a traditional and authentic Indonesian feel to the film which to be frank, this was the first Indonesian film I had seen and thought it was outstanding!
It was clear the actors had rehearsed to within an inch of their life and it was extremely convincing and none of those "one punch, one kick, fall to the floor" type of martial art combats. There was one of those cliche scenes when it is like 1 guy no weapon against 5 guys with knives when in reality it does seem an unlikely feat but surprisingly enough he manages to pull it off without making it look too much of a challenge.
I would say this film is definitely a gory, bloody violent fest but not the worst I have seen, so still watchable. It is described as a type of "survival horror" film which I think is quite apt as literally all fight scenes were a battle to the death. The final battle scene with Kama against Mad Dog was particularly riveting and gruelling at the same time! Despite frequent "owww!" and "eeesh!" sound effects emanating from me I could not take my eyes off the screen!
I thought the actors were outstanding and as good as any Hollywood film I have seen to be frank. Uwais was particularly outstanding in my eyes playing a convincing good paramilitary agent and he delivered his fight sequences with ease and was most definitely the star of the whole film. This is the second film Uwais has collabarated with the director from this film (welsh Gareth Evans) and I think the 2 clearly have a chemistry for delivering exhilarating and fast paced action movies.
The film has a run Time of 101 minutes which I think was a perfect length to be honest. Being a blu-ray it has excellent quality features and the clarity only heightened the prestige camera work in the film and the drama and blood splatter everywhere! In the US this is called The Raid Redemption as it could not gain rights to call it just "The Raid" which apparently has left the slot open for follow up films. The ending to this film has also left the door open for a sequel and I really hope there is one as I will definitely be first in line to watch it!
Overall, I found this film exciting, jam packed with action and anticipating from the get go with the intensity levels managing to be sustainable throughout and it didn't slip at any point which kept me on the edge of my seat! I would definitely recommend it to film lovers, not only interested in martial arts (as to be honest when I first saw the cover I had no idea it was a martial art film!) but to those who like action movies, with a new interesting concept and don't mind reading subtitles lol!
It can be bought from Amazon for £11.99 and has a very appropriate age rating of 18.