2011 gave us one of the best martial arts movies in the last decade. The Raid: Redemption has a fairly simple premise: A SWAT team is sent to an apartment complex in Jakarta’s slums to oust the crime lord that has it in it’s grip. Previous attempts by both the police and rival gangs have failed.
The 101-minute movie, which is violent pretty much from the start through the end, plays out in the apartment complex.
The Raid sees Welsh director Gareth Evans reunite with Indonesian actor Iko Uwais. The two had previously worked together on a 2009 film called Merantu, which is credited with bringing Indonesian martial arts, specifically silat, back to the forefront.
The Raid has been criticised for having a threadbare plot and minimal character development. Roger Ebert gave the move 1 star out of 4, writing, “Have you noticed how cats and dogs will look at a TV screen on which there are things jumping around? It is to that level of the brain’s reptilian complex that the film appeals.”
We have to disagree. Not with the argument that there isn’t much of a plot. But more to the point that it’s just “things jumping around” which is well, downright derisive.
The Raid, again puts silat and Iko Uwais on display. Silat is an aggressive, joint-breaking fighting style and often involves the use of knives and we see some truly creative fight sequences through the movie. And much of the choreography for the fight scenes was done by Iko Uwais who plays good cop “Rama”, and Yayan Ruhian who plays “Mad Dog,” one of the crime lords top henchmen.
There were clearly some great contenders from The Raid: Redemption. For instance, the machete fight scene, the drug lab scene, or the fight between Jaka and Mad Dog that incorporates both Silat and judo. But we picked the final fight, which draws on a common trope in martial arts movies i.e. two good guys take on one bad guy, though it’s arguable if Andi, played by Donny Alamsyah, is good.
Some whinge about the fight being too long and lacking the flourish of some of the other scenes, but that’s part of the reason it’s great.
Mad Dog doesn’t like using weapons. He lives for hand-to-hand combat. At one point in the movie, he puts down a gun and says, “I’ve never really liked using these. They take away the rush. Squeezing a trigger, its like ordering take out. This is the thing. This is the pulse. This is what I do.” He clearly enjoys both fighting and killing people.
Watching him and Rama go against each other in a nearly six-minute fight fast-pace, brutal fight is pretty epic.
Below we break down the fight, and explain why it’s so epic. WARNING: It’s very violent, so if violent martial arts on the screen isn’t your thing, then you should probably click away.
Unlike many of the other fight scenes in the movie that include chases in and out of corridors and rooms, this fight is contained to this one grungy, bare room.
Some great blocks from Mad Dog as Rama and Andi try to corner him with kicks.
And as many have noted, what’s great is that the director didn’t resort to the shaky-camera effect (that for instance became wearisome in the Bourne movies) and a bunch of wire tricks, though those can be great when used sparingly.
Love the capoeira-like choreography for these kicks.
Extremely painful to watch.
We’re not sure what to call this but you can watch it over and over again.
This is probably one of the best sequences in the fight scene. Rama delivers a joint snapping blow to each of Mad Dog’s arms (the sound effects are pretty intense), he follows it up with a quick succession of jabs to the chest, a painful looking choke-hold, a spin, only to then snap his back.
And he finishes it by using the light bulb fragment lodged in Mad Dog’s throat to slice through his jugular. (The gurgling sound is pretty awful.)
Bonus: A brutal scene from the Machete fight in which Rama kills one of the gang members.
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