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Originally published Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 3:01 PM

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Movie review

'The Raid: Redemption': Relentless action in high-rise will floor you

A movie review of "The Raid: Redemption," a take-no-prisoners action picture, shot in Indonesia on a very low budget, about a Jakarta SWAT team battling a vicious crime lord in a dingy high-rise apartment building fortress. Raw, rough and relentless, it just keeps coming at you.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 3 stars

'The Raid: Redemption,' with Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Ray Sahetapy. Directed by Gareth Huw Evans, from a screenplay by Evans. 100 minutes. Rated R for staggering violence, bloodshed, language. In Indonesian, with English subtitles. Several theaters.

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Hey! You!

Yes. You.

Are you ready for a totally immersive movie experience?

Imagine this scenario: You. Are. There.

You. Are a member of an Indonesian SWAT team sent to take down a way-vicious crime lord holed up in a way-crummy high-rise apartment building fortress in Jakarta.

You. Are now one of the few survivors of a mission gone horribly wrong after a horde of heavily armed criminals has shredded your unit with automatic-weapons fire.

You. Are having a very bad day.

You. Find yourself battered, bloodied and weaponless, trapped in a long corridor facing four nasty customers wielding razor-sharp machetes. Do you drop to your knees and plead for mercy? Curl into a mewling fetal ball and wait for the end?


You. Charge the blades! Straight on. Bellowing with defiance. And in a frenzy of kicks to the gut, elbows to the head, knees to the kidneys and punches to the face, you bring the pain in one of the most astounding action sequences ever filmed.


And there's plenty more where that came from in "The Raid: Redemption." Raw, rough and relentless, it just keeps coming at you.

Written and directed by Gareth Huw Evans, a Welshman, and shot in the Indonesian language (with subtitles) on a low budget, "The Raid" is a take-no-prisoners picture.

Its roughness is in its setting. The Jakarta apartment building where the bulk of the action takes place is a dark and dingy killing ground in a very bad part of town. The roughness is also in the behavior of its characters. Its chief villain (Ray Sahetapy) is the kind of guy who starts his day with an appetizer of summary executions and then moves on to the main course: orchestrating the massacre of the cops.

The hero (Iko Uwais, who also co-choreographed the fight scenes) is a sympathetic young family man with a pregnant wife who also happens to be a master of an Indonesian martial art called pencak silat, which he uses to devastating effect in scene after high- intensity scene.

His motivation is simple: He just wants to survive the day and return home safely to his wife. To do that, he has to fight for his life again and again. And it's those jaw-dropping fights that leave the viewer breathless.


Soren Andersen:

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