And now we come to what has become one of my favorite movies of all time. The Raid Redemption is one of the most cohesive, brutal, action driven films I have seen since I first watched The Protector with Tony Jaa. And what makes it better is that a lot of people actually like it. For once, Rotten Tomatoes is right in giving it a 83% fresh rating. This movie is fresh as hell.
What should I start with in talking about this martial arts movie to the extreme? Well, its
Get your shoot on.
basis comes from some of the best. In an interview, I remember Gareth Evans saying he was inspired by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and earlier films of the time. But when you see this, you know it shoots right into the vein of Muay Thai, no holds barred, stunt fighting with punches hardly pulled. People are getting worked in this movie (on and off camera). And when you introduce guns into the mix, you know things are going to get even more brutal.
And there’s a plot here as well! No running after elephants and single minded goals to be had here. There’s a raid, some character development, and then a twist. Everything you need in a movie like
this. Basically, Iko Uwais, now one of my top 5 favorite martial artists of all time, plays Rama, a passionate SWAT team member with a wife and a baby on the way. His team leader, Jaka (Joe Taslim) is determined to do the mission with no losses and everything in order and justified. But with the sounding of the alarm, a 30 floor slum building crawling with hundreds of crime gangs, everything is going to go off.
Other than the adequate acting in this film, I was really impressed that some martial artists I hadn’t see before showed up in this one. Joe Taslim was quite the throw artist with his specialty in Judo. His fight with Mad Dog was literally redonkulous. And then there’s Mad Dog himself, played by Yayan Ruhian. That little greasy haired monkey absolutely destroys half of the people in this movie, and doesn’t even stop when he gets a light bulb shaft shoved in his neck. Unbelievably badass. Throw in the expertise of Iko Uwais and his Silat, and you have the best 101 minutes of my life.
What I was surprised about in this movie was how much weaponry was used in a classically martial arts movie. Guns,
Mad Dog, unleashed.
assault rifles, knives, police clubs, the environment as well as the weapons available created a more realistic situation than just fists and feet. (Watch out for the Machete Gang though…) People getting thrown into furniture and off of ledges, this movie becomes so brutal everybody is shouting “OH!” while watching it.
Now we come to the soundtrack. For the U.S. and English speaking release (I mean subtitled of course), Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was recruited to make his own original electronic soundtrack to complement the movie in comparison to the Indonesian release. What is created is what I would consider a throwback to the first two L.P. albums which is far superior to the stuff they’re coming out with now. The drums and bass come in at just the right moments to escalate your emotions and really get your blood pumping. Just like a video game, you have this rising action as you get into unique fight after unique fight. Superb.
30 floors of Hell.
Throw together all these elements and you have a Welsh director in an English speaking country that gets Eastern martial arts cinema. If I could grow up to be like him, I’d do it. The Raid: Redemption just proves that martial arts action films can be explosive, entertaining, and dramatic. 9.8 out of 10.
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Okay, let’s think about this logically. I was just reading up (and I’ve been told) that The Matrix: Reloaded is considered a flop of a sequel. The first one set up such a good plot that the second detracted from that and focused solely on action. In essence, a stupid man’s film about boobs, guns, and fighting. Let’s rethink this, shall we? People always say that the
An all-star, stunner cast.
second film in a series flops in comparison to the first. But let’s think about a few trilogies followed the same principle.
The Lord of the Rings. There is an apparent escalation in the amount of action and violence in comparison to the first film. That Battle for Helm’s Deep? That’s a pretty damn good action scene. Star Wars. Both parts. Episode 4 has the Battle of Hoth and Episode 2 has the Clone Wars. Hell, even Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has more action and violence than the first. You wanna know why this is so common? Because the story is set up in the first, and the meaty middle of the story contains most of the action before the crescendo in the third. It’s just the way trilogies are set up. Beginning, middle, end. Simple.
Get at me.
So, now that I’m done explaining that, plot.
Neo (Keanu Reeves) is back again with a vengeance. He has been releasing minds from the Matrix and kicking ass. He and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are a loving couple (I stress loving in the sexual sense of the word for some of the content rating) and are returning to Zion after a meeting with the other captain’s in the Matrix. With the sentinels digging into Zion and threatening the last bastions of humanity, Neo, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity, and Link (Harold Perrineau) must find some way to beat the machines. It’s gonna be an all out brawl.
And this movie delivers on so many levels. Amazingly choreographed fight scenes, mind blowing CG graphics that broke ground, and great stunts throughout. This movie has it all for Martix and action fans
Straight out of anime. Word.
alike. Some revelation-level secrets are released and we all get to see why Neo is the one. What could be better?
The cool and suave acting is just as good in this one as the last. Everything about the movie just screams sleek and badass, but in a cool way. Keanu Reeves improves his performance from the last one in Reloaded as does Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss. Some newcomers to the film add some spice as well. Jada Pinkett-Smith, one of my Hollywood crushes, performs beautifully as the cold and intense Niobe, captain of the Logos. I loved playing as her in the Enter the Matrix game for Xbox, a game I would recommend re-releasing for the 360 or something. Please?
Wielding, like a boss.
Lambert Wilson was comedically enthralling as The Merovingian, an older program that has survived for years in exile. And Monica Bellucci, the drop-dead gorgeous Mary Magdalene from Passion of the Christ. She’s even sexier in this one, and I’m actually glad she’s in Revolutions as well. Collin Chou throws up a great fight scene (one of my favorites) with Neo as Seraph, the protector of The Oracle (reprised by Gloria Foster, sadly, for the last time). Throw in a cameo from Leigh Whannell, creator of Saw, and you have a great cast of Matrix familiars. A whole world is created with these interesting characters, and I can’t get enough.
Another great soundtrack from Don Davis and various Nu Metal/Metal bands I enjoy listening to, and you got yourself another amazing installment of the Matrix. I may just be a sucker for films like this, but I just can’t find very many flaws with these films at all. It’s a classic tale/archetype of the hero and his transformation/journey, and it just speaks to me on an epic scale of what a good movie and story is. So get at me about The Matrix: Reloaded. It blew my mind, and still does. 9.3 out of 10.
Bang on me!
Leave a comment | tags: action fans, amazing choreography, amazing installment, archetype of the hero, back with a vengeance, Battle for Helm's Deep, Battle of Hoth, blows my mind, boobs, cameo, Carrie-Anne Moss, classic tale, Clone Wars, cold and intense, Collin Chou, comedically enthralling, cool and suave, creator of Saw, crescendo in the third, delivers on so many levels, Don Davis, drop dead gorgeous, Enter the Matrix, epic scale, Episode 2, Episode 4, escalation in action, exile, fighting, focuses on action, Gloria Foster, good action scene, good movie, good plot, good story, great fight scene, great soundtrack, great stunts, groundbreaking, guns, Harold Perrineau, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Hollywood crushes, improved performances, Jada Pinkett Smith, journey, Keanu Reeves, kicking ass, Lambert Wilson, last of humanity, Laurence Fishburne, Leigh Whannell, Link, Logos, loving couple, machines, Mary Magdalene, Matrix familiars, metal bands, middle of the story, mind blowing CG graphics, Monica Bellucci, Morpheus, Neo, newcomers, Niobe, no flaws, not a flop, Nu Metal, Passion of the Christ, programs, re-releasing, revelations, Revolutions, sentinels, Seraph, sexy, sleek and badass, Star Wars, story is set up in the first, sucker for films like this, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, The Matrix: Reloaded, The Merovingian, the One, The Oracle, transformation, trilogies, Trinity, violence, whole world is created, Xbox, Xbox 360, Zion | posted in Movies