Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gareth Evans: The Raid: Redemption

Iko Uwais, The Raid: Redemption, Sony Pictures Classics, 2012.

Redeeming the gut wrenching, two fisted action picture while breaking down the genre, director Gareth Jones' newest film, the mind-boggling The Raid: Redemption, instills the true fan with unwavering faith while blowing the minds of all others. Though Jones has plucked elements from countless action films past, from The French Connection to Die Hard, it is his thorough passion for testosterone-fueled violence and the filmic canon which contains it, that his movie plays like a master thesis with body blows.

Sensational Indonesian fighter cum movie star Iko Uwais is revelatory as the rookie cop thrust into a bloody nightmare when a raid on a crime lord's slum building goes awry. The plot is on automatic, but its the frantic energy and frenzied violence Jones fills the frames with that leave one in awe. Uwais moves like a magical madman, maneuvering his body hypnotically. What an action film is, what defines it, is called into question and not entirely answered. Still, the elusive question - what is the relationship between violence and the media?

Jones directs like the popcorn is on fire. Joseph Trapanese crafts a beguilingly catchy score, while dp Matt Flannery seeps us in a scummy tenement and the unbridled gore within. Like most directors, Jones shows us masculine violence objectified, without looking any further.

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