15. The Raid: Redemption
Director: Gareth Evans
Stars: Iko Uwais, Donny Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Joe Taslim
There’s definitely room to nit-pick writer-director Gareth Evans’ heavily lauded action extravaganza The Raid: Redemption. The story is, yes, at times too thin: A squad of SWAT members get locked inside an apartment building in the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia, one that’s overflowing with criminals ready to viciously kick some ass. After a very brief calm before the storm, where leading man Iko Uwais’ character’s back-story is painted by the numbers, Evans’ film basically turns into a video game on steroids.
Here’s the thing, though: When the fight choreography is this unbelievable, and the action set-pieces are of The Raid’s A+ caliber, why should it be so difficult to accept the narrative limitations and watch the mesmerizing fisticuffs in awe?
Incredibly demonstrating Evans’ favorite type of martial art, Pencak Silat, Uwais and the rest of the brawling cast spend the entirety of The Raid: Redemption engaging in some of the best on-screen fights we’ve ever seen—no exaggeration. Even if a little viewer fatigue does set in near the end, we’ll gladly take too much of Evans’ independently made good thing over Hollywood’s typically ham-fisted action any day.