Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dredd vs The Raid - The Inevitable Comparison

Written In September 2014

In 1995 Sylvester Stallone made this movie
It was generally met by revulsion from fans, critics, and audiences alike. So in 2012 these three came together
To right the egregious wrong that had been done to this great man
This amendment took the shape of this glorious piece of art
Meanwhile, in 2011, these three gentlemen came together for the second time ever
And together they made something that was nothing short of beautiful
I think I’m gonna cry, excuse me just one second…
Anywho, in 2012 the above Indonesian action picture got it’s American release just a couple of months BEFORE Dredd was released. This led to a number of idiots upon Dredd’s release to comment
“I ain’t accusin’ anyone of anythin’. It’s just that yer movie has the exact same plot as me new favorite martial arts movie…”
“And yer movie came out a few months after I actually saw the damn thing!”
“So the way I see it, there are three possibilities.”
“One, you ripped off The Raid.”
“Two, you ripped of The Raid.”
“Or three!”
“You ripped off The *bleep*ing Raid!”
Not realizing that:
A. Alex Garland, the writer and producer of Dredd, had been working on the script for this damn movie since 2006
B. While The Raid began filming in March of 2011, Dredd had actually been filming since November of 2010.
C. A version of Dredd’s shooting script was actually leaked online in July of 2010. Implying that if anyone ripped anyone off here, it’s more likely that Gareth Evans was ripping of Alex Garland.
D. The two films were shot on two entirely separate continents, with The Raid of course being filmed in Indonesia and Dredd being mostly shot in Capetown and Johannesburg in South Africa.
E. Dredd was done shooting by the time The Raid was released, but was currently stuck in Post-Production.
In other words
BUT, me being me, I thought it’d be kind of fun to compare and review the two. So wiggle on over my previous reviews right here
And we’ll get down to business!
So, here’s how we’re gonna do this. I’m gonna break this comparison up into a few categories and then I’ll determine which film I thought did the thing better. The categories will be the following:
  1. Best Hero
  2. Best Villain
  3. Best Supporting Cast
  4. Best Action
  5. Best Storytelling
Whoever scores the most out of five is declared the better movie, so with all that out of the way, let’s get started!
Now from a basic character standpoint, these two are day and night. While Rama is a rookie cop who just wants to do the right thing and goes out of his way to be helpful and diligent, Dredd is a senior officer who’s been through the ringer and knows that are some people who deserve a break and some people who deserve to take a bullet to the head. This is also something that shows in how they fight as well; Rama’s style is elaborate and showy but it’s ultimately about getting through as many bad guys as he can while also taking out the bigger threats. Dredd’s style less flashy though, it’s pretty clear policy really, either shoot the dude dead or beat him dead. While Dredd just plows through his opponents like a human bulldozer, Rama spends as much time as he can just swerving around them like a race car around cones on his track.
Another thing that really shines a light on who these characters are is their attitude towards police corruption. When Dredd crosses paths with a corrupt judge he sniffs him out almost immediately, and when he does, he doesn’t let the guy talk his way out of the issue, he puts a bullet in his foot and smashes his throat with one of these puppies
He doesn’t react with surprise to realize that there’s corrupt judges on his tail, he acts like it’s just an annoying part of a pretty hard job that he’s been saddled with. While on the other side of that coin, Rama is absolutely furious when he realizes that Lieu. Wayhu is a dirty cop who’s in bed with Tama. He realizes that plenty of guys on the force are dicks, he has no issue dealing with and accepting that, but it’s nothing short of unbelievable to him that someone like Wayhu would even dare to turn his back on the thousands of people in this city depending on him to do the right thing.
Ultimately, this is a choice that comes down to personal preference. Of the two, Dredd is easily my favorite. But on the other hand, I think Iko Uwais might just be outacting Karl Urban here. So all in all, I’m gonna call it a draw.
While Dredd and The Raid’s heroes are pretty different, they actually have pretty similar villains. So I say we go over a quick list of some similar traits these two have
  1. Both are gang leaders
  2. Both are often seen with two thugs, one of which they favor and the other they abuse.
  3. Both have a certain taste for sadistic killings
  4. Both are defiant to their end with Tama mocking Lieu. Wayhu as he arrests him and Ma-Ma challenging Dredd to even try to kill her.
  5. Both are rather surprised by their eventual demises.
  6. Hell, they both even address the complex they reign over directly when the authorities arrive.
But that is where their similarities end. While Ma-Ma’s sadism is very much about pure aggression and letting people know who's really in charge, Tama’s sadism is very playful and jovial. Ma-Ma wantspeople to suffer, while Tama likes to see how people squirm, assuming they squirm at all.
I think the perfect example of this is in their respective opening scenes, Ma-Ma is being approached very timidly by her lackies who suggest to her that they skin these little pricks who trespassed on their turf, while Tama is seen standing against his desk with his two lackies on either side of him as he chows down on some noodles before pulling out a revolver and busting a cap in the head of six guys. Tama is as laidback as bad guys come, right down to the fact that he doesn’t even spend most of the movie fully dressed. While Ma-Ma just wants people to die.
Personally, while I’d say this makes Tama a more entertaining villain, but it doesn’t really make him interesting. Tama by his own admission is middle management. While Ma-Ma is the big boss. Tama’s the guy who works with corrupt cops, but Ma-Ma is the person who hires them. And even then, Ma-Ma’s got a lot more going for her as a character. We don’t really know a lot about Tama when we meet him, and that’s fine, we don’t need to know anything about him that doesn’t involve hitting people with a hammer when his gun runs out of bullets. Dredd however decided to go the extra mile and tell us a little bit our bad guy. And my God do you know why she’s so mad. The lady started out as a hooker who got cut up by her pimp and then came back and, excuse my language here, but I need to be frank, BIT HIS FREAKING DICK OFF! And then went and took over his business interests and became the biggest damn mob boss in her block. Which keep in mind, most of these blocks holds an entire city’s worth of people. This lady basically runs a city. Tama runs an apartment complex.
All in all, I gotta call it a tie again. Tama makes me smile more, but Ma-Ma leaves me more interested. I can’t choose between the two, they’re both terrific.
This one won’t be a hard choice. Dredd has a very small supporting cast, but it makes them count. The Raid has a supporting cast of about seven characters, not including it’s main antagonist, and while they do each make a certain impact, most of them have very unclear motivations and lack any genuinely interesting qualities.
That’s right fanboys, I just CRITICIZED The Raid! Your holy bastion of everything wonderful in a non-comic book action film has *GASP* flaws! Which I will now proceed to explain.
  1. Lieutenant Wayhu. How do he and Tama know each other? Why is the mob trying to kill him? What is his motivation in working for the mob? Why does he feel the need to kill the only surviving members of his team so he can get away with Tama? Why does he kill Tama and then attempt to kill himself instead of going ahead and killing Andi and Rama? The movie makes me ask all these questions and then responds to me with
    Smooth move Evans, smooth move!
  2. Sergeant Jaka. The movie sets him up as this great leader who’s an even better man and acts like his demise at the hands of Mad Dog is some horrible heart wrenching moment, when in reality he comes off as a pretty good leader and an overall decent human being, but the entire time I was watching this fight I was just thinking “Dude, you’re like a foot taller than this wacko! Just step on him!” And when Mad Dog actually does kill Jaka, I’m not really left as hurting as the movie wants me to be, in fact I’m feeling compelled to look at the score playing at the moment, as though it were a physical entity and say
  3. Officer Bowo. Rama at one point says that the man is stubborn as hell but he’s a good guy. I get the stubborn part but I really don’t get good guy. Every single action he takes throughout the movie is something that was in his best interest. He never once acts in the film that would suggest he’s someone capable of considering the feelings and best interest of others. He comes off like a guy who’s got anger issues more than anything else. I have nothing against the character, I found him to be a source of great humor throughout the first half of the film, but I never really saw a lot to this guy. He just told Rama off when he asked the sarge a question, got his ear shot, screamed at a guy while he stabbed him to death, threatened to haunt Rama if Gofar cut him while he’s recuperating, and then telling Gofar to find a bigger knife for Rama to get out the bullet in his leg. I don’t really remember anything else from the guy ultimately.
  4. Andi. Who the hell is this guy? No really, who the hell is he? He’s Rama’s older brother and one of Tama’s two henchmen, and that’s it! We know nothing else about this guy! Is he a criminal because he finds more fulfillment in the criminal lifestyle? Is he a police officer in deep cover? Was he already a police informant who just rose through the ranks of the criminal underworld? Gareth, do you have a reply?
    Damn it Gareth!
  5. Dagu does nothing. He is not a character. He’s an extra. He exists only to be shot by Wayhu when we find out he’s a corrupt officer. The end.
And now for the only two supporting characters in The Raid who I think are actually well rounded characters. Gofar and Mad Dog.
  1. Mad Dog is pretty simple. He likes punching people. He dislikes shooting his victims because it feels like it’s too quick and not much fun. He prefers to beat the living snot out of people until they’re made into a corpse because it’s what gets him off. He loves what he does and he does what he loves. And he’s played by the amazing martial artist Yayan Ruhian.
  2. Gofar. Average Joe who happens to live in Tama’s apartment complex, doesn’t want any trouble, just wants to get some medicine to his sick wife. Gets caught by the cops on his way inside and has to be escorted back to his room. Rama tries to be diplomatic with him and as his way of saying thank you for being a nice guy, he lets Rama and Bowo hide in his room while Tama’s thugs are on the prowl looking for them. He’s a good guy. I liked him.
So that’s two characters who have a clear dynamic and motivations, who also completely fulfill their purpose in the story. Out of a SEVEN PART SUPPORTING CAST!
Dredd on the other hand has only two supporting characters who are pulled off perfectly.
In one corner we have
Kay, he’s a drug dealer and a thug. He enjoys doing slow-mo, torturing people (which could possibly include rape), and playing mind games. He’s not terribly bright but he more than makes up for it by being a sadist. He is what you would typically define as an
He’s not a complex character, but he’s played very well. Every moment that it’s just him and Anderson, you can see the gears turning in his head as he’s trying to figure out just what to say to her so he can freak her out enough for him to get loose. It’s good stuff.
Speaking of Anderson, let’s chat about this girl.
Cassandra Anderson is a rookie judge at the start of this film and it kinda shows in parts. She’s a little shaky at times and a tad reluctant to actually shoot anyone. But by the end of the movie you know this chick is ready to be a judge. When you see this girl go from
You know she’s ready to unleash hell.
What I like about her though isn’t her progression from timid newbie to a beast of a policewoman, it’s her reasoning behind becoming a judge in the first place. She wants to make a difference in the world. She sees the screwed up things that are happening around her and she wants to change that, she wants to make things better. And that’s something I admire.
Point for Dredd!
Wait, that doesn’t look right, let me try something else real quick.
Yeah, that’s more like it! On with the review!
This one I’m just gonna call a tie on principle. Both movies make good use of their environments. Have good scores driving their fights. Are always intense. Are always bloody. And are always well shot and choreographed. Choosing between them is purely a matter of personal taste. If you like this you’ll love The Raid. If you prefer this, Dredd will not disappoint you.
And we’ve come to the end, boy this was fun! We should do it again sometime, maybe with something nobody likes so that no one can be offended when I criticize it. But I’ll get to that later. The story in both films is pretty simple. Policeman goes into building. Policeman starts to do job. Things hit the fan. Policeman and his respective allies are trapped in building by the bad guy. Policeman has to go to the tippytop floor of the building confront bad guy. Bad guy is a big meanie poo. Heroic policeman stops the bad guy. End on positive note with a piece of modern music on the soundtrack.
It’s pretty simple stuff. And it’s pretty entertaining stuff. The devil however, is the in the details, as they say.
Dredd’s narrative is pretty simple and uncomplicated even when you get into the details. Judge Dredd is a good cop, although a bit of a cynic. Judge Anderson is a smart rookie with a neat power, but she’s a little bit uneasy at first. The two of them go through the Peach Trees block, do a drug bust, grab a gang member to interrogate back at the station, and then get stuck in the damn block when Ma-Ma realizes that “Oh bugger! One of my dimwit employees just got caught! He’s gonna spill the beans about our whole operation because he’s a complete moron! Great, now I gotta kill two judges!” Some gangbangers come and see if they can get a piece of the judges and fail miserably. Ma-Ma shoots up the entire floor they’re on hoping they’ll die. By some miracle they don’t. Dredd and Anderson squeeze Kay, the dimwit gang member they’ve been carrying, and find out that Peach Trees manufactures all the Slow-Mo in Mega City One. The two of them go out to find Ma-Ma, get distracted long enough for Kay to slip out of his constraints, who then proceeds to grab Anderson for a human shield/hostage. Dredd sets up a trap for the other group of moronic gangbangers who will try to kill him. Ma-Ma out of desperation calls up a group of corrupt judges who handily get their butts kicked by Dredd and an escapee Anderson. The two of them reach Ma-Ma’s compound and wreak havoc without much issue.
The Raid however seems to be under the impression that it can do what these movies did
While at the same time doing what these movies did
And I’m sorry Gareth, but that doesn’t work here. The next movie you did though, it worked beautifully, but not so much here.
You wound giving us a great martial arts movie but kind of a cluttered crime thriller. The plot goes as follows though, Rama is a good cop and a good man, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, who happens to have a pregnant wife. He goes in as a member of SWAT team, to go and find a trio of criminals and either take them out or bring them in. Unfortunately when it hits the fan when a little boy who lives in the building alerts a friend to the presence of the police who then alerts the big boss from upstairs himself, Tama. Tama waves this off and lets the raid go on as it was, proceeding to eventually alert the entire complex that if anyone kills just one cop they'l be getting to stay here rent free for the rest of their miserable life. An even larger pile of crap hits an even bigger fan and almost everyone except for about five cops are killed.
The survivors being Rama, Officers Dagu and Bowo, Lt. Wayhu, and Sgt. Jaka. Rama and Bowo are separated from the rest of the team with the latter unfortunately badly injured. In order to find the rest of the team, Rama opts to leave his friend behind with an apartment tenant who he’d earlier escorted back to their room. Rama is forced into a lengthy hand to hand combat confrontation, ending in him and his final opponent falling through a window and landing on a fire escape.
Meanwhile, Andi randomly decides to brutally murder two of the thugs Tama sent him out with. Rama wanders aimlessly through the complex before being met with his older brother, Andi, one of Tama’s henchmen. The two chat for a moment before Rama goes back out to face the bad guys and meet with his friends. Meanwhile, Sgt. Jaka is forced to be separated from Dagu and Lt. Wayhu. Jaka is then forced into a protracted hand to hand brawl with Mad Dog who proceeds to beat the man to death. Rama and Andi meet back up with their teammates where in Rama decides to take the fight back to Tama who incidentally saw Andi help Rama.
Tama leaves Andi’s fate to Mad Dog who strings him up in a freezer and beats the crap out of him repeatedly. Rama, Wayhu, and Dagu unleash hell in one of Tama’s meth labs and continue on to face the man himself. Our main hero’s “I’m a good brother” sense begins to tingle and he goes in to save his sibling from Mad Dog’s wrath. The two fight together and eventually kill Tama’s second man and make their way on up.
Finally, Wayhu reveals that he and Tama are actually working for the same people by killing Dagu. Tama however reveals to Wayhu that the higher ups actually set him up to die. Realizing that if Rama knows he’s corrupt and that if what Tama says is true, he’s screwed no matter what. Wayhu opts for the coward’s way out by killing Tama and attempting suicide. Rama and Andi however apprehend the corrupt old man when his gun fails. Andi gives his brother recordings of all of his boss’s dealings with corrupt cops. Rama and an injured Bowo walk home with a defeated Lt. Wayhu in tow and the film ends.
I had to describe the basic plot of The Raid in FIVE PARAGRAPHS! I could describe the plot of Dredd in one. Gareth, I know you wanted to tell a complex story, and lord knows I like me some complex action movies, I mean I’m a big fan of these in particular
But Gareth, listen to me. A grand story only works in the context of a grand premise. A crime drama/martial arts movie doesn’t work all that well in the context of a fight inside an apartment complex!
So yeah, as you may have guessed. Simplicity is key, IMHO. But I’ll give The Raid this, it may be overly complicated but the direction and the acting really do make you stop to care at a certain point. If a movie has a glaring flaw present but can you make not realize it while you’re watching the movie, it’s doing something very right.
Ultimately though, this is another one I’m gonna have to give this Dredd. It just told it’s story better. It flowed smoothly from point A to point B without any real hiccups. The Raid didn’t have any real hiccups either, but it doesn’t real flow from A to B, it goes from A to B to C and then D. Remember Gareth.
The winner is, of course, Dredd!
Well it’s three ties and two wins in favor of Dredd, the winner of this inevitable comparison is in fact the dude with the helmet!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this review!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dredd Vs. The Raid: A Mini-Review Series - The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Written In September 2014

Hey, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, I’ve got no beef with you guys most of the time, I like most of what you guys pick for your artsy fartsy awards, I especially liked these two in fact
But could I make a humble suggestion? Make a category for best choreography.
I mean seriously, as much crap as we give movies like Step Up or Man of Tai Chi, they still have darn impressive choreography. And stuff like that takes a LOT of time, skill, and technique to put together. That kind of stuff takes a combination of great cinematography, great editing, and intense practice. I mean just look at this sequence. Pretty awesome right? Now imagine how much time it took to practice that sequence, then how much time they spent filming it, and how much time they spent editing it together to make it look good. I think that’s the kind of stuff that deserves some recognition? You know what I mean academy? Wait! You, the person reading this, AREN’T a member of the Oscar committee? Well then what am I talking to you for?!?! Get out!
You wanna hear more? Hmm…
Eh, alright guys! You seem okay, get your butt over to the synopsis and we’ll chat more.
Plot Summary Taken From Wikipedia:
The film opens with Indonesian SWAT officer Rama praying, practising silat and bidding goodbye to his wife, who is pregnant with his child.
Rama joins a 20-man elite police squad inclduing Officer Bowo, Sergeant Jaka, and Lieutenant Wahyu for a raid on an apartment block in Jakarta’s slums. The team intends to capture crime lord Tama Riyadi, who owns the block and lets criminals around the city rent rooms under his protection. Arriving undetected, the team sweeps the first floors and subdues various criminal tenants, they temporarily detain an innocent tenant delivering medicine to his sick wife. Continuing undetected to the sixth floor, the team is spotted by a young lookout, who raises the alarm before he is shot and killed by Wahyu.
Tama calls in reinforcements, who ambush the police force, killing and maiming a majority of them. Cutting the lights, Tama announces over the PA system that the police are trapped on the sixth floor stairwell, and he will grant free permanent residence to those who kill the intruders. In the darkness, the team is soon ambushed by shooters from above and behind, and Jaka learns from Wahyu that the mission is not officially sanctioned by the police command; nobody knows their location and no backup or reinforcements will arrive. Fleeing into an empty apartment, Officer Bowo is shot and injured. To save him, Rama constructs animprovised explosive device that kills the pursuing tenants. With more antagonists approaching, the team splits into two groups covertly: Jaka, Wahyu, and Dagu retreat to the fifth floor, while Rama and Bowo ascend to the seventh.
Fighting their way to the apartment of the tenant they earlier released, Rama and Bowo plead with him to help them; although his sick wife urges him to not get involved, he reluctantly agrees and hides the officers in a secret passage. A machete gang arrives and ransacks the man’s apartment, but when they fail to find Rama and Bowo, they eventually leave. After giving medical attention to Bowo, Rama leaves him with the couple to search for Jaka’s team, however, he crosses paths again with machete gang. He manages to dispatch one member and flee, but forced to fight them with his bare-hands. Rama defeats and kills most of the gang, including their leader who he uses as safety when he jumps out of a window and to an apartment below. He then continues his search, only to be captured by Andi, Tama’s right hand man. It is then revealed that Rama and Andi are estranged brothers, and that Rama signed up for the mission to search for Andi and convince him to return home, at the urging of their father.
Concurrently, Jaka and his group are found by Mad Dog, Tama’s ruthless henchman. Wahyu flees, and Jaka orders Dagu to follow Wahyu. Mad Dog captures Jaka, but, instead of shooting Jaka, Mad Dog challenges him to hand-to-hand combat. After Mad Dog defeats and kills Jaka, he drags the corpse to an elevator. Andi tells Rama to wait before leaving and meets up with Mad Dog. However, Tama has seen Andi talk to Rama on the numerous hidden cameras in the building. Realizing Andi’s betrayal when he didn’t return with a corpse, Tama stabs Andi in the hand and turns him over to Mad Dog.
Rama regroups with Wahyu and Dagu, who go on to fight through a narcotics lab, and they head for Tama on the 15th floor. Rama, finding Andi being beaten by Mad Dog, separates from Wahyu and Dagu to save him. Mad Dog allows him to free Andi and fights both brothers simultaneously. Initially Mad Dog has the upper hand, but after an intense and grueling battle, he is eventually overpowered and killed by the duo.
Meanwhile, Wahyu and Dagu confront Tama, only for Wahyu to betray and kill Dagu. Wahyu takes Tama hostage with the intention of using him to escape, but Tama taunts Wahyu by revealing that Tama has been waiting for the team before the events of the movie began and Wahyu was set up by his corrupt higher-ups; even if Wahyu escapes, he will be killed later. Wahyu kills Tama and attempts suicide, only to find that he has no bullets left.
Andi uses his influence over the tenants to allow Rama to leave with Bowo and a detained Wahyu. The tenant watches from a window and grins with delight. Andi also hands over numerous blackmail recordings Tama made of corrupt officers taking bribes, hoping that Rama can use them to his benefit. Rama asks Andi to come home, but Andi refuses, due to his acclimation to his criminal lifestyle. Before Rama leaves, Andi asserts he can protect Rama in his role as a criminal boss, but that Rama could not do the same for him.
Andi turns around and walks back to the apartment block with a grin that breaks into a wide-smile, whilst Rama, with Wahyu and an injured Bowo, exits to an uncertain future.
So here’s my question for you all dear readers, is the fact that The Raid is getting an American remake really such a bad thing?
Just hear me out. I mean you have good talent on board already with Frank Grillo, who has stated he’s a big fan of the original film, and Taylor Kitsch being cast and Red Hill director, Patrick Hughes, filling in for Gareth Evans. And if you’re gonna comment on how Expendables 3 sucked, let me just say, that the first two movies were just an ego trip, the third one was destined to suck no matter who was behind the camera. As for the martial arts, well the studio is trying hard to get the original film’s choreographers, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, to actually come back to train the actors for the film.
And if you’re going to pull the “IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE REMADE!” Card, well then you’re an idiot. Batman didn’t need to be rebooted after Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, but it got one anyway, and guess what, we got one of the best trilogies ever made out of the deal. Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World didn’t need to be remade, but guess what, it did get remade and we got one of the best science fiction films ever made out of that deal.
No movie ever NEEDS to exist, but guess what, studios like money and artists like to experiment by making their version of a pre-existing movie. Did you know Martin Scorsese’s The Departed was a remake of a Chinese film called Internal Affairs? Did you also know that said remake is what finally scored Scorsese an Oscar? Remakes are not destined to suck. The only movies I believe that are destined to suck are these ones
So let’s just consider the fact that this movie won’t tossed out by Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay, they’ll be put out by Sony (a studio based in the far east) and a little known indie director with only two credits under his belt. What’s that mean? It means this guy isn’t some studio lackey, like the guy who made this
Or some disenchanted dandy who’s literally only making movies because it puts bread on the table, like the guy who made this
He’s an actual creative personality who’s making movies because he loves making movies. AND, here’s the kicker.
An American Remake will attract attention to the original. Which means, even if it sucks more people will go and check out the ORIGINAL movie. Let’s talk money here, The Raid: Redemption, and it’s sequel, The Raid: Berandal, have a combined gross of $20.6 million. If this remake is even remotely worth a damn (or if Sony markets it well), based on Sony’s past releases so far this year, it’ll make somewhere around $250 million. Now let’s say just half of that comes from the United States. So around here, the average movie ticket costs about $8.15 (ridiculous, i know), by this logic, basic math would dictate that if the movie makes $125 million in the US then 15.4 million Americans would’ve paid to see this movie, that doesn’t seem like much but let’s consider something else. According to DVD and Blu-Ray sales, around $7.1 million worth of people bought a copy of The Raid: Redemption in the US, and according to this site, about $2.7 million was made off people buying copies of The Raid on DVD, and $4.4 million was brought off the Blu-Ray copies. Now most DVDs are worth about $8.15, so that’s 331288 people who bought the thing on that format, and since most Blu-Rays cost about $18.55, that means that format grabbed 237197 customers. That’s a total of 568485 people who bought The Raid. So that means 14.9 million more people are aware of the original Raid’s existence and now have incentive to seek out a copy of the original movie. And you know what people do when they LIKE a movie? They tell their immediate circle of friends about it, they tell their coworkers about it, they tell their family about it, they spread the knowledge of this movie’s existence. If those 14.9 million people tell just one more person about this awesome Indonesian martial arts flick and then they see it, we now have 29.8 million people who think that The Raid: Redemption is the sickest martial arts flick they’ve ever seen.
So can you take that gun off my temple now, so I can talk about the actual movie now?
  • Iko Uwais as Rama. What I like about this character is he's ultimately just a good guy in a building full of very not good people. His most immediate desire is to save his friends, get the job done, and go home to his wife and baby. I also really like his sense of loyalty, his brother may be a con but he’s still his blasted brother. His boss maybe a crooked two-bit jerk, but he’s still a cop through and through. Bowo may’ve been a complete jerk to him on the bus, but he’s still one of his teammates and he’s still a fellow officer, so he’ll see to it he gets somewhere safe and lives to see proper medical attention.
  • Ray Sahetapy’s Tama Riyadi is probably one of my favorite characters in the movie. He’s got the laid back slick presence that makes watching him do bad things a lot of fun. I especially love his opening scene where he’s got a line of guys on the floor in front of his desk and he just shoots them in the head one by one with a revolver, but once he’s out of bullets he just rests the gun on the last guy’s shoulder and asks him to hold this for him, he then grabs a hammer instead of another bullet and smashes his head with it. I also love the moment where Lieutenant Wayhu is trying to get away with him, and Tama tells him that their boss sent him here to die. When Wayhu turns his head to look at him, Tama gets one big Cheshire cat smile on his face like he just saw the old guy wet himself. I really love this guy, I hope he pops up in something stateside in the near future because he really made me smile.
  • Tegar Satrya’s Bowo is pretty much a hothead in all senses of the word. We’re first introduced to him giving Rama crap for asking about Sergeant Jaka’s plan, and then we later see him killing a dude with the ax and screaming angrily while doing so, this is before we saw him get shot by Tama’s thugs, and after being shot, we later saw him repeatedly stabbing a separate thug. In an exchange taking place between the two scenes, Rama tells Bowo he’s gonna take him to the guy they met outside, Bowo then threatens to haunt Rama for the rest of his life if that dude cuts him. At the same time, you can definitely infer that he cares about the guy because when he sees a machete cut through Rama’s cheek while they’re hiding in the tenant’s wall, his face is filled with horror. And it’s not the kind of horror you have when you think you’re about to get busted, it’s the kind of horror you have when you see your friend is in danger.
  • Joe Taslim’s Sergeant Jaka is pretty much a paint by numbers hard top cop who cares. He doesn’t want any civilian dead, he just wants to get the bad guys. He gives his boys a hard time, but at the end of the time he wants them all back on the bus by the time they get done here because he doesn’t want to be walking up to any doorsteps telling tearful spouses that their husband didn’t make it. He’s got a decent sense of humor, such as the moment where he asks if Bowo was done yelling at Rama so he could finish going over the plan. He’s a good presence and I liked seeing him around.
  • Donny Alamsyah’s Andi serves as basically a thief with a heart of gold, he feels more at home among criminals but at the end of the day he doesn’t want to see good men die. He also clearly cares about his brother considering that he put his head on the line for the guy. He knows full well what Tama and Mad Dog are capable of doing to him if he gets caught, but he helps his brother anyway. I guess loyalty is a family trait.
  • I really liked the apartment tenant, Gofar, the guy who Rama and the team meat outside the complex before they storm in. He comes off like an honest guy who normally would advise against trusting the police, but has a genuine change of heart after being treated so fairly by Rama. And I really like how it’s shown that this guy is genuinely putting the life of himself AND his wife trying to protect this guy and his loudmouthed friend.
  • I really like the comedy in this movie, there’s not a whole lot of it, but there’s just enough peppered throughout to make you crack a smile between holding your breath during the intense beat downs. I already mentioned the execution from near the beginning of the movie, but another bit I liked was the scene where Rama and another guy fall a couple floors through a window while fighting and eventually landing on a fire escape, Rama finally beats the guy he fell with then slips in through another tenant’s window walking past a man and his wife/girlfriend, the latter of whom asks “Where’d he come from?” I especially love the scene where the machete gang has left Gofar’s apartment and Rama sets Bowo on his couch, then asks Gofar to grab a knife to help get the bullet out of Bowo’s leg, and all Gofar can find is one of these
    Bowo then looks at the knife in horror, grabs Gofar by the collar, and tells him to look again, before groaning in pain and telling Rama to just go ahead and get it over with. If you’re one of those people who firmly believes that the best source of all comedy is misery, then you will love this scene!
  • For some reason I really dug this scene when things first hits the fan, there’s this one guy who’s got his hands cuffed behind his back, and while the two cops looking after him are distracted, he slips his arms over his legs putting his hands in front of his chest instead of behind his back, then slides a machete out he’d had hidden under the table, and then cuts the two officers who were holding him captive. I’m not sure why I liked it, I thought it was just really clever.
  • I really liked some of the minor details here. There’s this quick scene in an elevator where Andi cuts one dude’s throat, and then stabs another guy through the neck, the guy struggles for a second before dying and Andi has to actually push the knife against his neck until he actually dies, causing the tip of the blade to actually scrape against the wall of the elevator. Another bit I liked was the scene was Bowo actually gets shot in the ear, and suddenly the sound becomes just this annoying ring, implying that Bowo just lost his hearing for a few minutes.
  • If there’s one trope I’m an absolute sucker for, it’s when a character says something near the end or in the middle of a movie, and another character or the same character references it. And this movie was no exception. There’s a quick scene where Andi offers to give Rama a change of clothes so he can get out of the building undetected. Rama sighs and says “No, this fits me just fine.” The scene was basically Rama saying “I can’t leave without the rest of my crew or completing my mission.” Andi sighs in resignation and then let’s his brother leave. At the end of the film, when Rama and Bowo are leaving with Wayhu in toe, Rama asks his brother why he chose a life of crime, Andi smirks and replies “The same reason you stay in that uniform, it just fits.” I really like the exchange, and how it shows that while neither brother doesn't particularly care for the other’s choice, they still love and respect each other, and do ultimately understand each other.
  • I really like the scene where Lieutenant Wayhu attempts suicide, it’s pretty clear he’s given up on accomplishing anything on either side of the law given that at this point, both sides want him dead. And I love his reaction when the revolver he’s using is out of bullets.
  • Mike Shinoda’s score is terrific! There’s a lot of Linkin Park there, but it’s really great, and I especially love the final track they played at the end. Although I did honestly expect to start hearing Chester’s voice.
  • Pierre Gruno’s Lieutenant Wayhu has a very really unclear motivation. It’s never really made clear why he’s working with Tama, who they’re both working for, or what was so important that it had to involve putting the lives of 20 honest cops in jeopardy
  • I really don’t get Yayan Ruhian’s Mad Dog. I get that he prefers to just beat the crap out of people, but honestly, I don’t care what you’re if you have a fetish for another dude putting his hands on you, you’re paid to kill so just shoot the guys before he can get you.
  • At the start of the movie there’s two major cut aways that just really pissed me off. One was during Tama’s introduction, where he gets the hammer out and is about to connect with the guy’s head when it just cuts back to the buss. And the other was when the cuffed crook grabs his machete strikes at the two officers holding him captive. This was a pretty violent movie overall, so it really just annoyed me that they cut away from that specific instance of gore.
Overall, I’m inclined to say that this movie is A.
An absolute great time! And B. Not as good as everyone claims it is. I enjoy a good brainless action picture, but what bugs me about this movie is it also tries to be a genuine crime thriller/police procedural, and it only gets about halfway there. It’s sort of like that track star who’s about when he starts chatting up some random broad, you know they beat the competition by a mile, but it’s really annoying that just sort drop the ball briefly. All in all, I’m gonna give The Raid: Redemption, a 7.8 out of 10.
I’ll also say, having watching The Raid 2, or The Raid: Berandal, I actually think it’s a lot better on the grounds of more interesting characters, more inventive and exciting fights, and a generally better character arc and plot line. This movie is now slouch, but I’ve seen better and I’m not gonna pretend this is top of the line just because the action is so amazing. In any case, I really do like this movie, and I really do look forward to comparing and contrasting it with Dredd. So with that being said
It’s time gentlemen.