My Indonesian born now a Singaporean wife Cynthia has been asking me out for a movie date for the past three weeks. She wants to watch the new Indonesian movie The Raid: Redemption that is very popular back home and in US. Yet, five minutes into the show when a line of captives were brutally executed by the gangsters, I was not sure if she would stay till the end. It is bloody. The execution is so in-your-face such that at one point, even I had the urge to look away. The opening scene has set the bar. The audience is warned. This is no child play. Blood will be shed, in a big and realistic way. Bone will be cracked. People will die. When it comes to urban warfare and close quarter combat, the key to survival is to eliminate your opponents. The Raid: Redeemption is a 100 minutes movie that guarantees to entertain from the beginning to the end, if you have the stomach for it that is. Surprisingly, Cynthia stayed till end. And our friend TK did not fall asleep.
Here are a few interesting points to share, courtesy of my wife who understands the language and has been reading all the news on this movie. I have added a few based on my research too.
- The main actor Iko Uwais has won a National Silat Championship. Silat is a traditional Indonesian martial art. Iko is one of the two choreographers of this movie. The other one is Yayan Ruhian who plays the deadly Mad Dog character in The Raid.
- The Raid or Serbuan Maut as locally known was hugely popular in Indonesia during Cynthia’s recent visit to her birth town. It has also gained popularity in US.
- The translator has apparently taken the artistic liberty to spice up the violence of the movie by adding a lot more vulgarity than what is spoken in its original Bahasa Indonesia language. I suppose that is to cater for the Western audience because violence is not really violence with a lot of swearing?
- It is common to see a praying scene in an Indonesia movie. After all, Indonesia is a Islamic country. It should come as no surprise that those who pray will prevail.
- The Raid is likely to have a sequel.
At the end of the movie, I felt utterly confused by the story line. Maybe it is lost in translation. So I asked Cynthia and TK for their understandings. Looks like the three of us have a different version of what we think the story is. Cynthia insisted that this is an Indonesian action movie. There is no story. We pay to watch the action instead.
True. There are tons of action. Twenty cops raid a 30-story building heavily guarded by a notorious crime lord and his gang. The show starts with an urban warfare stealth mission that turns horribly wrong. I suppose sooner or later, the characters would be out of ammunition. Hence, I was not that surprised when halfway through the movie, it turns into close quarter combat with knives and fists and a rare usage of pistols. The fight choreography flows beautifully (again, beauty in the context of violence). The filmmakers must have involved quite a number of professionals for this show because the fight looks authentic and there are many different faces that appear for that few second of glory. There is one old guy who cannot fight – as demanded by the plot I guess – and he stands out like a sore thumb. It is through contrast like this do we realize how professional the rest of the actors are.
The Raid: Redemption is intense. It is an entertaining, eye-opening movie provided that your heart can take the violence, blood, and more.