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Movie Review

Subtitled import from Indonesia The Raid: Redemption can be summed up in a single English sentence: A heavily armed SWAT team of 21 police officers tries to take out an even more heavily armed drug lord in his gritty, grimy, fortress-like apartment building.

The team's leaders, Sgt. Jaka and Lt. Wahyu, make no bones about the fact that besieging the brutal crime kingpin known as Tama is decidedly dangerous business. But none of them, it seems, fully comprehend just how deadly their assignment will be. (Just like most moviegoers who see this film won't fully comprehend how vicious and bloody and incessant its violence is going to be.)

Success depends on stealthily infiltrating Tama's 30-story tower. But Lt. Wahyu's silencing bullet slices through the neck of a young resident a nanosecond after he sounds the alarm.

The boy is the first of the film's myriad casualties.

In short order, Tama's ruthless minions mow down most of the SWAT team. Among the survivors is rookie—and martial arts expert—Rama who's determined to accomplish his mission and get as many of the remaining officers out alive as he can.

Doing so, however, requires surviving the assaults of wave after wave of gun-, knife- and scimitar-wielding assailants. It also requires surviving the betrayal of a key team member who turns out to have his own agenda for going after Tama.

Positive Elements

Rama and Jaka repeatedly demonstrate heroic courage. When Wahyu insists that he, Jaka and another officer need to get out while they can, Jaka steadfastly refuses to flee before trying to find anyone else who may still be alive. Likewise, Rama goes to great lengths to rescue an officer (named Bowo) who's had most of his ear blown off.

Rama is equally devoted to his wife, who's seven months pregnant. When he leaves on the morning of the raid, he tells her and their unborn son how much he loves them, and he promises to return. That promise motivates Rama to survive when things turn ugly.

One of Tama's chief henchmen is Andi—who turns out to be Rama's long-lost prodigal brother. Andi tries to convince Tama not to kill the policemen. He also helps Rama survive, knowing Tama will punish him for it. Rama, in turn, tries (unsuccessfully) to talk Andi into giving up the life of crime he's been sucked into.

Rama and Jaka, I should note, are determined to bring Tama to justice—alive. And they feel the same way about the traitor in their midst, once he's exposed. Responding to an ongoing conversation about whether all police officers are corrupt, Rama and Jaka both insist—and prove—that there are still righteous cops.

An innocent bystander agrees to hide Rama and another injured officer, even as Tama's men threaten him and his wife with death.

Spiritual Content

Rama, a Muslim, is shown bowing and saying a lengthy prayer on the morning of the assault. Someone says that Tama's men "respect him like God."

Sexual Content

Rama's pregnant wife is briefly shown in bed in a formfitting camisole.

Violent Content

Viscerally extreme examples of violence grip The Raid: Redemption from start to finish. The very first such scene serves shocking notice of what's to come: Tama has four prisoners on their knees on a tarp. He coolly puts a gun to the first three men's heads and pulls the trigger. The fourth man he kills with a hammer blow to the head. (We see the first three killings and feel the fourth.)

The SWAT team and Tama's forces proceed to unleash bullets and blades, fists and feet. Close-range, graphically shown shots to the head dispatch more than just a few folks. Knives repeatedly puncture, then slash necks, torsos and legs to gory effect. Tama's thugs patrol a room full of mostly dead officers, slashing with short swords anyone who's still moving. Axes get buried in men's heads, shoulders and chests. Speaking of burying things in body parts, a broken florescent lightbulb is rammed into someone's neck. And speaking of necks, many are broken, as are backs.

Rama and Bowo are hiding from Tama's men behind a false wall in an apartment when the bad guys begin piercing the wall with swords. One thrust slices Rama's face and pins him to the wall—a position he must remain in silently for several minutes until the man removes the sword.

Upon learning of Andi's betrayal, Tama's other main henchman nails Andi's hand to a desk with a huge knife. Later, Andi is strung up with a chain as the same goon pummels him repeatedly. The screams of an officer being tortured are heard amidst the laughter of Tama's men, and we later see the bloodied man hanging upside down. The cop turncoat goes so far as to murder one of his fellow officers in cold blood.

On top of all that, there are myriad martial arts-style melees. These include literally hundreds of fierce hits and kicks, not to mention body slams and head rams.

Crude or Profane Language

Subtitled profanities include close to 40 f-words, nearly 10 s-words and one c-word. There are three or four misuses of God's name. (Twice it's joined to "d‑‑n"). Add to that one use each of "pr‑‑k" and "p‑‑‑."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Some of the apartment dwellers in Tama's tower seem strung out. A lengthy fight takes place in what appears to be a drug preparation room, full of vials and beakers and miscellaneous drug-purifying paraphernalia.

Other Negative Elements


The MPAA rated The Raid: Redemption R for, among other things, "strong brutal bloody violence throughout."

It's not very often we see that many adjectives strung together in the ratings board's brief descriptions. And now we know why.

The body count here is sky-high for a film that has nothing at all to do with the apocalypse. Twenty-one police officers go in. Three walk—or rather, limp—out. Among Tama's men, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 wind up dead on the tower's many floors.

But it's not just the number of dead. It's the bestial ways that they die—and the ways that we see them die.

There are some positive elements in this nonstop actioner, namely Rama's commitment to his wife, his brother, his teammates and justice. But those heroic themes get beat senseless by the wall-to-wall bloodshed and—to repeat the MPAA's word—brutality that is The Raid: Redemption. It's a film so grossly misnamed I'll offer my own title as a conclusion: The Raid: Almost Everyone Dies a Horrific, Appalling, Frightful, Shocking, Terrible Death.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

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Other Belief Systems

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Readability Age Range



Iko Uwais as Rama; Joe Taslim as Jaka; Doni Alamsyah as Andi; Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog; Pierre Gruno as Wahyu; Ray Sahetapy as Tama; Tegar Satrya as Bowo


Gareth Evans ( )


Sony Pictures Classics



Record Label



In Theaters

April 13, 2012

On Video

August 14, 2012

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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