Movie: The Raid: Redemption


the raid

The Raid: Redemption

This movie isn’t science fiction, but I’ve noticed that many sci-fi bloggers are fans of John Wick, and the two movies seem similar to me, both having enough plot to be real stories, but focusing primarily on action with a high body count.  (My wife has just pointed out to me that a better comparison plot-wise might be the most recent Judge Dredd film, which is science fiction.)

The Raid was the first Indonesian film I watched, and just like my first Thai film, I wasn’t expecting much going in, but was surprised when I got a really enjoyable movie, as good or better than the stuff coming out of Hollywood.

In the story, a crime lord in Jakarta lives on the top floor of an apartment building.  He rents the floors below to criminals, who pay high rent to live in a police-free zone.  This doesn’t sit well with one squad of Jakarta’s cops, who decide to launch a surprise raid and take down all the residents at once.

You realize that Jakarta PD isn’t playing by American-cop rules when they open their assault by garroting a sentry.  I won’t spoil the movie by recounting any more of the plot, but enough gunfights and fistfights break out to satiate even the most hopelessly addicted of action-addicts.

Some common action-film tropes were present, but not to the point that they detracted from the entertainment.  For example, the good guys and bad guys largely ran out of ammunition at the same time.  The film stars a number of famous pencak silat (Indonesian martial arts) practitioners, so of course it needed to showcase their unarmed combat skills.

There were two major plot twists.  The first (so obvious that I don’t mind giving it away) is that one of the upper-level cops was corrupt, not really a surprise as most films with cops in them have at least one bad doughnut.  I still have some interests in the country, so I’m not going to say much here, but my understanding is that most Indonesians would call a corrupt upper-level cop a setting detail rather than a plot twist.  In fact, if I’d been directing the movie, I’d have said “Let’s blow peoples’ minds with this one.  Let’s make the guy NOT corrupt.”

The second plot twist was much more interesting, story-wise, so I’m not going to spoil it here.  I’ll just tell you that if you like blazing guns and knuckle sandwiches, you want to see this movie.

There is a sequel, which I haven’t seen, The Raid 2.  There is also a box set containing both films.


  1. Great find – this movie definitely deserves more recognition! I loved it 🙂 It was really well-made and the fight scenes were pure poetry. The plot was derivative, just enough of it to justify the fight scenes, but as the movie never promised anything more and never pretended to be what it wasn’t, I had been a really happy viewer till the very end ;). Heard the second part is not as good as the first one, and didn’t watch it either.

    1. I can confirm the second film isn’t as good. It had very little in common other than the name, and lacked the claustrophobic urgency of the first. Not that it’s bad, but I’d probably have enjoyed it more if they didn’t invite comparison.

      Agree with all the comments on this film though.

      1. Too bad, I was hoping to get another film like the first. I’ll still try to catch it someday.

    2. Yes, definitely relied on its action scenes, and I’d say the plot was probably better than most pure-action films (not to mention a few sci-fi films out there).

  2. I’ve seen several of Tony Jaa’s early films (before he became comfortably middle aged with the spread) and really liked The Protector.

    I guess I need to check this out. I notice you have the pix for the unrated edition. Any idea what gets cut out for the regular edition?

    1. I’ve seen a couple of Jaa’s films also, but I don’t remember if The Protector was one.

      I just got that image from Amazon. I don’t know whether I saw the rated or unrated edition. I googled around a little just now, and some people say some violence was taken out, but one guy says it’s only a few seconds that were cut.

  3. Awesome film indeed, yet the sequel, is even better! Great review my friend. 🙂

    1. Wow, you’re the first person to say the sequel was better. I do plan to check it out eventually, so maybe I’ll post about it later.

      1. It takes everything about the original and expands on it in a fantastic way, the action scenes are even more over the top… if you can believe that!! 😉 🙂

  4. I love what Indonesian, Thai, and Korean film industries are producing in terms of action films. They are solidly applying practical effects, they get actors who can actually do the action scenes, they let the camera/audience see the action happen, and they are coming up with some excellent ways to showcase an action sequence. One example of the latter is in The Man From Nowhere where they have a tracking shot of the actor leaping out a window and down onto the street. They apparently set up a special harness so the cameraman leaped out the window with the actor.

    1. I haven’t seen that film. I’ll add it to my to-watch list.

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