The Raid: Redemption and Chimpanzee

The Raid:  Redemption

Rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) is part of a 20 member strike team, led by Sgt. Jaka (Joe Taslim) and Lt. Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), that has been tasked with bringing local crime boss Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy) to justice.  Tama owns a large apartment building where he lives in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta.  Most of the tenants of the building are killers, thieves, drug dealers and rapists, along with Tama’s right-hand men Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Doni Alamsyah).  The strike team’s plan in to secure each floor in the building one at a time, quietly taking out all the residents as they make their way up to Tama.  That goes out the window when a child Tama uses as a lookout sees the officers in the hall and sounds an alarm.  Tama announces over the building’s public address system that there are unwanted guests in the halls and everyone should attack them.  Whoever brings him Lt. Wahyu, dead or alive, will get to live in the building rent free.  Now the team must fight for survival through an entire building filled with criminals bent on pleasing their crime lord boss.
“The Raid:  Redemption” is a film from Indonesia with English subtitles.  Don’t let that keep you from seeing this movie as it is an action masterpiece.   There also isn’t that much dialog to read as most of what the cast says is grunts, groans and screams.  The number of flying hands, feet, elbows and knees is nearly infinite and the gallons of blood spilled would fill an Olympic-sized pool.  Director Gareth Evans knows how to shoot hand-to-hand combat scenes.  He doesn’t make the action unwatchable with extreme close-ups and a shaking camera.  The action is filmed with an eye that appreciates the artistry of fight choreography meaning it has to actually be seen to be enjoyed.  The men responsible for the fight scenes are the actors Ido Uwais and Yayan Ruhian and they save the best fight for themselves in a three-way scene near the film’s end.  I found myself tensing up as each scene progressed, as if preparing to be struck.  While the film uses the martial arts movie technique of never sending more than two men to attack the hero at a time, any thoughts of common sense are violently shoved to the side as the beauty of each scene plays out.
While action is the spotlight of the film, the story is fleshed out enough to actually be interesting without interfering with all the blood and mayhem. Without giving too much away, there are familial complications for Rama in the building along with a subplot about rampant police corruption that puts all the lives of the strike team at risk.  There’s just enough story to keep the action from becoming tedious and silly.
“The Raid:  Redemption” is rated R for strong brutal bloody violence and language.  At least a dozen people are graphically shot in the head, maybe more.  There are numerous stabbings in nearly every part of the body, all accompanied by spraying blood.  Axes and machetes are also used with bloody effectiveness.  There are numerous fist fights that are equally bloody.  Foul language is common.
If you want to see “The Raid:  Redemption” it’s only playing at the Regal Downtown West Cinema 8 but it is well worth whatever drive you have to make.  And don’t let the subtitles scare you away because reading the dialog doesn’t take anything away from your enjoyment of the film.  I think having the actors voices overdubbed in English would have been far more distracting.  The martial arts scenes will make all the reading worth it.
“The Raid:  Redemption” gets five guitars.
Oscar is a newborn chimp in a group that’s led by an alpha male called Freddy.  Oscar’s mom Isha provides him with food, love, protection and education as there’s much for Oscar to learn in order to survive.  When a rival band of chimps led by their alpha male called Scar conducts a raid to take control of a patch of nut trees Freddy’s group uses as a primary food source, Isha is injured then killed by a leopard.  Oscar is alone and far too young and inexperienced to survive.  That’s when the most unexpected member of the group steps up to become Oscar’s surrogate parent.
While a nature documentary is not usually my idea of a night out at the movies, Disney’s fourth Earth Day release is a pleasing look at humanity’s closest relatives.  The behavioral similarities are striking and easily noticeable.  The love and care Isha and the other mothers show for their young are more than just protecting the next generation of chimps.  There is some real emotion on display.  Watching the chimps use branches and rocks to crack open nut shells and thin twigs to capture bugs you see the rudimentary beginnings of tool creation.  The day to day activities of the group are usually focused on finding food but there are other concerns as well.  The encroachment of the rival band of chimps means defensive strategies must be developed and deployed.  Similar strategies are used for the hunting of smaller species of monkeys that round out their diet.  The documentary, shot over a three year span in the Tai Forest of the Ivory Coast, excels at weaving together a story out of the lives of these animals.  It’s a story filled with emotion, drama, action, fear and, eventually, hope.
If there is a problem with the film, it’s the narration by actor and comedian Tim Allen.  Allen does a fine job of relating the facts of chimpanzee life.  Where there’s an issue is with the humor employed by Allen.  Most of the jokes largely fall flat and are an unnecessary addition to the already humorous antics of Oscar and his playmates.  Allen even manages to work in his trademark grunts when talking about the chimps using rocks as tools.  The film didn’t need his efforts punch up the lighthearted moments and they become a distraction.
“Chimpanzee” is rated G with just some mildly stressful moments when the rival chimps attack Freddy’s group and during the hunting of the other types of monkey.
“Chimpanzee” is aimed squarely at children and it seemed to be mesmerizing to the youngster-filled audience I watched the film with; but parents shouldn’t worry about being bored with the movie.  Oscar and his clan have more than enough charisma and charm to keep audience members of any age interested and entertained.
“Chimpanzee” gets four guitars out of five.
Four new films hope you’ll spend your entertainment dollar on them this week.  Vote for the movie you’d like me to see and review.
The Five-Year Engagement—Beginning where most romantic comedies end, this film looks at what happens when an engaged couple keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.
The Pirates:  Band of Misfits—With a rag-tag crew at his side, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award.
The Raven—Edgar Allen Poe joins forces with a young Baltimore detective to hunt down a mad serial killer who's using Poe's own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders.
Safe—A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change... until the day he blows a rigged fight and gets on the wrong side of the Russian Mafia.
Stan’s Choice—Stan sees and reviews the movie of his choice.
Release dates are subject to change and not all films may be shown in Knoxville, TN.
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