The story--what little there is--is simple and sparse: deep in the ghetto of a city in Indonesia, a huge apartment building becomes the safe house for some of the city's most notorious and dangerous criminals. These are not the type of people that the general public wants to mess with. Crime lord Tami Riyadi is the sickest of them all, torturing and shooting rival gang members and even the police.
Rookie cop Rama and a 20-man SWAT team lead a mission into the building to rid it of the criminal scum. Floor by floor, they have to slash (or shoot, or stab, or dismember, or bone break, or impale, or bludgeon, or smash, etc) their way higher into the decrepit pit of an apartment building. Challenges await at every turn: doors are blocked, men with automatic machine guns wait around corners, stairways are in rubble. The lead gangsters live near the top of the building with plenty of high-tech gadgetry and cameras to keep tabs on the ever-dwindling SWAT team. Not everyone in the building is a hardened criminal, though they all are loyal to their frightening landlord. Most men attack the police squad, and kids act as spotters to slow the team's already-slow progress.
There's a very simple way to determine whether or not you will enjoy The Raid: Redemption. Take a look at this fight scene. Most in the film are different variations of this--senseless and ultra-violent killing with martial arts and incredible fight choreography:
It's best to the leave the discussion about the place of violence and killing in film at the door with The Raid. Someones you're just in the mood for a visceral experience that is basically unrivaled in its absolute non-stop action and bloodshed. Once the SWAT team is in the building, downtime is minimal. There cant be much more than 15 minutes of dialogue in the entire film (unless you count grunting and the weird high-pitched noises that every martial artist yelps when they land a hand-to-hand blow as dialogue). As one might except--like in the older Steven Seagal or JCVD showcases of violent revenge--some of the fight scenes obviously get a bit repetitive at times. But Welsh director Gareth Evans sure knows how to stage amazing stunt-packed fight scenes, and there's enough innovation to keep your attention throughout the entire 100 minute run time. Almost like an intricate ballet or a gymnastics performance, The Raid: Redemption sucks you in to its sophisticated action while shooting your arm with a needle filled with 100% adrenaline.