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.
1 Comment | tags: 30 floor slum building, 83% fresh, action done right, action driven, adequate acting, assault rifles, badass, blood pumping, Bruce Lee, brutal, character development, cohesive, crime gangs, destructive, dramatic, drum and bass, Eastern martial arts, elephants, English speaking country, entertaining, escalates emotions, explosive, favorite movies of all time, fists and feet, Gareth Evans, good plot, greasy haired monkey, guns, Iko Uwais, Indonesian release, Jackie Chan, Jaka, Joe Taslim, Judo, knives, Linkin Park, Machete Gang, Mad Dog, martial artists, martial arts movie, Mike Shinoda, mission, Muay-Thai, no holds barred, original soundtrack, police clubs, raid, Rama, realistic situation, rising action, Rotten Tomatoes, Silat, stunt fighting, superb, SWAT, The Protector, The Raid: Redemption, to the extreme, Tony Jaa, twist, unique fighting, US release, video game, weaponry, Welsh director, wife and child, Yayan Ruhian | posted in Movies
Okay, so let me start off by saying Tony Jaa makes me want to poop my pants. He is insane. Amazing. The things he can do with martial arts are just unspeakably ridiculous. He is hands down the most lethal man on the face of the planet. Okay, got that out of my system. But seriously. Ever since I found The Protector at my library and took it home to watch it, my pants have never been clean. Now to the movie at hand.
Tien (Tony Jaa) is a defeated warrior in the fourteenth century who has been captured and beaten to death. It is important to note that this is the third in the trilogy, although the first takes place in modern day and has nothing to do with Ong Bak 2 or 3. Tien was trained in the mountains in the ancient martial arts, bretrayed by his clan (in Ong Bak 2) and kills the very man who taught him those arts and killed his father. Pretty standard.
What’s not standard in Ong Bak 3 is what makes this movie stand out. The things they do to Tony in this movie are ridiculous. This movie is brutal. The torture is insane. And after all that, his entire body disfigured and broken, he comes back to beat the hell out of all those who oppose him. No mercy. With every movie, Tony Jaa improves his skill and dominates more than before with breathtaking moves. It’s a sight to see. Tien learns martial arts through the art of dance, (in an all to long scene, I might add) and uses his ridiculous skills in Muay-Thai boxing to destroy everyone. Literally, run train on all his foes.
That’s not to say that the whole movie has no plot. It’s pretty much like any other martial arts movie. But, Tony Jaa one ups every single movie by what he does. No stunt doubles, no wires, no CGI, no breakaway shots. Pretty much what you see in the movie, was done by Tony Jaa himself. It’s incredible. I know it may seem that I’m in love with Tony, but I’ve been watching martial arts movies for a while, and really, to be honest, nothing compares.
Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai, Tony’s mentor, did an amazing job writing and directing the Ong Bak series. Petchtai Wongkamlao is always funny as the bumbling partner that seems to always appear in all of Tony Jaa’s films, the cinematics and scenery of the shots in Ong Bak 3 are unrivaled, and the fight scenes will baffle you into disbelief. This movie, although not as good as Ong Bak 3, is still definitely worth the watch. It ends the series well and keeps me wanting more. Watch out rest of the world, Thailand has an ace in the hole. 10 OUT OF 10.
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