Friday, April 13, 2012

This is the pulse.

As a lifelong moviegoer, I've probably seen a thousand action movies. Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis were the icons of my day, with an appearance or two by the likes of Segal and Van Damme. As I got older and sought out less uber-mainstream guys, I discovered early stuff by Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Sammo Hung. These guys weren't as charismatic as my guys (dubbed dialogue being their undoing), but they seemed to both actually kick ass and legitimately take a beating. It was a revelation to my younger self.

As these guys all got older, it seemed that very few others were willing to step up and carry the torch. The Rock seemed to be the one, but he decided to make 4,000 family flicks. Jason Statham churns 'em out, but none of his flicks really stand out. He doesn't have an iconic role - they all seem to bleed together. Tony Jaa came along, and literally knocked the shit out of the action genre, but he too faded into the weirdness of the Ong Bak sequels. Was I growing up, or was the action genre growing stale?

Today though, it happened. I saw an action movie that completely and utterly renewed my faith in the genre. It was fast-paced and bloody as f--k. It didn't have a bullshit love story for the ladies, and it didn't have some asshole walking toward the camera while something exploded behind him. Shit, it didn't even have any one-liners. What it did have was some of the most insane stunts and camerawork I have ever seen in a movie, period. Ladies and gents, I give you The Raid: Redemption.

The plot is simple. A SWAT style group of cops have been selected to infiltrate an apartment complex that's home to a crime boss. This guy has been undisturbed by the police for a decade. Rival gangs have tried, but nothing can penetrate his fortress. This building is home to some crazy-ass shit, to say the least. We get all this information on the way to it, and from there? Oh, it's f--king on.

Hype is usually the number one reason that I will ever genuinely hate a movie, and I had really psyched myself up for this one. I hadn't heard anything about it recently, but months ago I saw a redband trailer on JoBlo. I instantly forwarded it to a friend and labeled the link simply: boner-inducing violence. All that anticipation, and I still loved pretty much every minute of it.

Last night, I saw a commercial for it and (shhh, don't tell my wife), we got out of school early today [parent conferences]. I hit up a 12:30 showing, grabbed some nachos, and me and the other two solo guys in the theater sat down and got our asses handed to us. The old guy in front of me loved it, and told me on the way out, Did you know it was subtitled? I guess I got in my readin' for the day.  How this guy found his way into the theater is beyond me, but that exchange might have made The Raid even better.

Surprise! I'm rambling. I was so awed by this one, I'd actually consider seeing this again theatrically. It was so f--king loud and intense, I don't think my setup could do it justice. If you have a chance, go. Trust me. If you have a d--k and don't like this movie, I owe you an apology. I'm not sorry for steering you in the wrong direction, no. I'm just sorry you're such a pussy.

Okay, I don't want to spoil anything, but I want to list (in vague detail) my 10 favorite things in this one:
  1. The camera. It's right there all the time. You are never cheated during a fight. Never.
  2. Yellow-shirt Kid. You bastard.
  3. If you want to help out, you can live here for free...(this is one of the best things in a movie ever) [paraphrasing]
  4. 7th Floor Battle = Legendary. So too, the um, powder room.
  5. I'll call the neighbors.
  6. Everyone, good guy, bad guy - whatever. Everyone, shit, everything is so damn relentless. Incredible. Even the music.
  7. Running out of bullets is actually a good thing. No one runs out of knives though. Or machetes.
  8. Mr. Iko Uwais. If this is the only movie you ever make, you still are in the Top 5 of all-time BAMFs (with love to The Smoking Pen [check it out]).
  9. Dude, the main ass-kicking bad guy? That guy is the truth. That two-on-one action was incredible.
  10. The last shot. It just fits.
UPDATE:  4/23/12. My main man H. Dunphy caught this one on my recommendation. His text to me afterward?  If u had an ass in that movie, it got kicked. Brilliant.


    1. Gah. I need to see this shit. Pronto. Boner-inducing violence? Yes, please. I'M THERE. Badass fucking review.

      1. AND thanks for the shout out. I've had Gina Carano up there for like...a hopefully Mr. Iko Uwais will knock her down!

    2. I would be crushed if this disappoints anyone, because I'm damn near shaking thinking back to some of the things I saw today. I hope I don't regret this one in the morning...

      Gina Carano (and Haywire) is another glimmer of hope that the action genre can be turned around. And shit, how are you going to work on a new BAMF when you are tearing through your A to Z list? Goodness. Cranking those f--kers out like crazy!

      And the shout out? Shit. The LEAST I could do.

    3. Will be seeing this next week! Can't wait. Great write-up.

      1. Ty - Come on back when you do see it. I would love to know what you thought. If I've seen a thousand action flicks in my lifetime...I don't even want to know what you're at. 2,000? 5,000?

        Seriously, let me know what you thought.

    4. Alright I saw this a couple week ago and never wrote a review out of sheer laziness. You pretty much said everything I would have anyway. Great review!

      I don't typically like these over-the-top all-action movies. And I especially don't like foreign language movies (it's a character flaw, I'm working on it) but this one really blew me away. The cinematography was absolutely perfect. The choreography of the action sequences was amazing. The sound/music fit exceptionally well.

      Apparently they are making a US version of this, with the same stunt coordinator guy, should be interesting.

    5. Replies
      1. Yeah, definitely.

        And, I'd be pissed too that your guys saw it at an advanced screening. Jerks!

    6. Sweet ass review!!! I can't wait to see this. A secret agent provided me with a thumb drive copy but it appeared to automatically self destruct before I could watch this :-(. Looking forward to checking this out on the big screen and writing up a review this weekend.

    7. Unless you have the most badass computer in the world, I'd say the theater is the way to go hands down.

      Let me know when you see it. I'd love to check out some other reviews.

    8. The Raid was Awesome! The fight scenes were excellent and some of the stunts were mind-blowing.

      This is the action movie to beat in 2012.

    9. Nice - glad you liked it. I will be shocked if anything else this year is even close in terms of balls-out action.

      But hey, fingers crossed, right?

    10. I also got a text afterwards "yeah it was good, but it doesn't change the fact that if everyone goes for him at once he's gonna lose".

      Seriously though, loved the film and this is a great review.

    11. Filmblogger - I think my text was cooler, though your guy has a point.

      But that question is the complete undoing of all action movies ever created, so let's ignore that shit. Let's keep logic and reason out of the genre, please.