The Raid (aka The Raid: Redemption) (Serbuan maut) (review)
Join the team of elite paramilitary police officers storming a Jakarta apartment block run by a crimelord in an attempt to take him out. It’s kill or be killed, because the junkies and lowlifes and scumbags who live in the building are the crimelord’s footsoldiers, and they would all love to take out a cop and get in the boss’s good graces. But be careful! There are a few innocents around, and you don’t want to riddle with bullets some poor guiltless schmoe whose only offense was in choosing the wrong address: you’ll definitely lose a few points for that. No, The Raid — aka in the U.S., for reasons both pointless and inexplicable, The Raid: Redemption — isn’t the latest first-person shooter, but it might as well be. What comprises the film’s bare notion of story is no more profound that a couple of gamelike cutscenes — probably less profound than those of some games, actually — and has nothing to offer except some of the most overused and most laughable clichés of the cop-action genre. (The rookie cop [Iko Uwais] who’s nominally the protagonist? He starts off his day kissing goodbye to his heavily pregnant wife. He gets another big moment of formulaic nonsense later; it’s not the revelation that he just bought a boat, but it could easily have been.) But this isn’t a movie so much as a series of martial-arts duels strung together along the flimsiest of narrative threads. Written and directed by Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans (but in Indonesian with subtitles), this is a flick that deploys bloody brutality to a cast of anonymous characters to make no point beyond “Ain’t asskicking cool?” Except it isn’t.