The Raid: Redemption

A beautifully choreographed fight/action film can be a glorious thing, and The Raid: Redemption sure is glorious.

There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of Hong Kong action flicks, buying DVDs online on a regular basis — and before that VCDs — and roaming message boards that covered them (that’s also where I had first contact with Patrick Macias). Yes, it started with John Woo and Tsui Hark, but I eventually went beyond, until I finally burned out on the genre. I wouldn’t dare say that the quality of the output took a hit (although some will in fact say that), but I had simply grown tired of the boring storylines, and the action started getting repetitious.

This all happened probably in the early to mid 2000s, and since then every few years I have tried sampling some new releases to see if they would get me interested in the genre again, but nothing really did. And then I watched The Raid: Redemption.

How is it that the best kung-fu film I’ve seen in years comes our way from Indonesia? And directed by a Brit? I don’t know what kind of devil pact it took to make such a fun action film, but I sure hope they signed a multi-film deal, because I want more — and I do believe that a sequel is already in the works, with a trilogy planned (and also a US remake, which I don’t much care about).

But what’s so great about The Raid: Redemption? The action, stupid. There’s a level of energy and fluid movement that is not only exciting to watch, it somehow feels organic — and they thankfully stay clear of wire-fu. The modern setting of a SWAT team invading a large residential building run by drug dealers also serves as a great backdrop for the action, and it’s fun to see how they manage to justify the use of kung-fu (or in this case, a form called Pencak Silat) over gunplay.

If you haven’t already, give this film a try.

By Jean Snow

Production Services Manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.