Sunday, March 18, 2012
THE RAID: REDEMPTION, fans of this genre had best get ready for a trip to heaven. For the rest of us, however, a few questions -- none of them deal-breakers -- may remain.
Gareth Huw Evans (pictured at left), has written, edited and directed The Raid, so it is to him that all queries should certainly be directed. My first is "What's this 'Redemption' thing at the end of the title?" Was there an earlier Raid: Damnation or Raid: Retribution that we missed, to which this one's a sequel? I don't think so. Then why not simply call your movie The Raid and leave it at that, since the plot -- simplicity itself -- entails nothing more than a raid upon a housing complex in which a notorious crime lord and his henchmen are holed up? Well, maybe this is all just a marketing ploy, as redemption is big these days -- even though it more often comes out like redumbtion.
Point Blank, which starts with a bang and then races around the city, hospital, corporate headquarters, police station and deserted warehouse as it develops its tightly-wound plot and very interesting characters into a fine piece of genre cinema that is certainly full of action? Or is it something like the relatively recent duo of District B-13 and its sequel, that, while highlighting the action art of parkour, also tackles racism, class-ism and the haves and have-nots with humor, irony and quite a bit of charm? Or maybe what is meant by an action film today is simply an extension of the Bruce Lee/Robert Clouse 1970s movie Enter the Dragon, in which, for its time, the newly discovered (in the west, at least) martial arts were given front-and-center, on-screen demonstration.
Pencat Silat, as demonstrated by its stars Iko Uwais (shirtless, two photos above, and above, with firearm) and Joe Taslim, below with mouth agape -- and practically all of the rest of the film's huge cast, every last one of whom seem to know how to fight like crazy. In terms of martial arts combat, The Raid may contain the best (it certainly contains the most) I've ever seen.
Sony Pictures Classics (yes, I'm shocked, too, but I guess, as we near the end of times, this storied distributor of art-house cinema must have decided to widen its scope and grab a larger audience) opens this Friday in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC and San Francisco. Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.