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Movie review: ‘The Raid’ is a bloody, brilliant action movie

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Iko Uwais (left) plays a police officer battling drug henchmen in the Indonesian action film, "The Raid," which had its U.S. premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Akhirwan Nurhaidir | Sony Pictures Classics

By Sean P. Means

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 12 2012 03:12PM
Updated Apr 16, 2012 02:43PM

The Indonesian crime thriller "The Raid: Redemption," a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a movie so chock-full of martial-arts action and bloodshed that the best thing to do is surrender to it.

A SWAT team goes into a Jakarta tenement to root out a notorious drug kingpin, Tama (Ray Sahetapy), but Tama’s surveillance, his army of machete-wielding thugs, and the mixed motives of Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), the police lieutenant who ordered the raid, put everyone’s lives at risk.

After the SWAT team is ambushed by machine-gun fire, it’s up to a tough sergeant, Jaka (Indonesian judo champion Joe Taslim), and an untested rookie, Rama (Iko Uwais), to get the cops out alive through the thugs and Tama’s most trusted guards, Andi (Doni Alamsyah) and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian).

Writer-director-editor Gareth Huw Evans creates a simple thriller that borrows from Bruce Lee’s "Game of Death" and Bruce Willis’ "Die Hard" with equal glee, and throws so much martial-arts action and wall-to-wall bloodshed on the screen that it makes "Kill Bill" look like a Disney movie.

The action sequences — choreographed by Evans, Uwais and Ruhian, highlighting the Indonesian martial art called pencak silat — are impressive for their kinetic power and brute force. Seeing the movie may leave you as pummeled as the SWAT team survivors, but if you’re an extreme action fan, you’ll be smiling through your broken teeth.

movies@sltrib.com; nowsaltlake.com/movies

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