If you love crazy martial arts movies, then you need to check out The Raid: Redemption and its 2014 sequel. And if you weren’t into foreign movies before, I think these two action gems will make you a fan. Just watch the first one and you’ll be searching for the second one, but I must say, you need a strong stomach. There’s a lot of blood and a lot of bullets flying around. So if you only like those big Oscar-winning movies known for their top notch performances and development, The Raid might not be for you. Fortunately, there’s a lot of fans of this movie out there and that’s because sometimes all you need is mindless, over-the-top action. Isn’t that why we all watch action movies anyway? So what is The Raid about? Director Gareth Evans captured the attention of American audiences in 2011 when he casted Indonesian action superstars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim as two members of an elite Indonesian police task force assigned to raid a crime-infested tenement with the goal of apprehending a violent crime lord. Hence, the direct title, which couldn’t be more to-the-point. Oh, and with the opening minutes of The Raid, it starts with a bang. The best part is, it never slows down. Just when you though you had time to take it all in, things get down and dirty right away.
What isn’t to love about these action scenes? As a matter of fact, remember the two very small, but very cunning Indonesian assassins who fought John Wick near the end of the third movie? Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman gave him quite a run for his money. Well, the former played the brutal right-hand to the crime lord in the first Raid movie, while the latter played a top assassin who had an epic kitchen fight scene with Rama (Iko Uwais) in the second movie. And I’m pretty sure he used the same knife when he fought John Wick. These are some deceptively tough little men, but given their expertise in their native martial art of Pencak Silat, it’s not hard to understand why. The first Raid movie set the bar pretty high for a sequel and Gareth Evans once again delivered with The Raid 2 in 2014. If you want to see a sequel that can go bigger, The Raid 2 does just that, with all the blood and violent martial arts fighting you need to see. It’s loads of fun and the very last scene left on a very curious cliffhanger. What happened to Rama? We don’t know but we want to know and that’s why we could use a third Raid movie.
For the last six years, all the fans have been practically begging for The Raid 3. And after all this time, it looks like we’ll be getting another Raid movie. The thing is, it’s not a three entry. In fact, it’s not even an Indonesian movie. What we’ll be getting is an American remake for Netflix only. Gareth Evans will be returning, but only as a producer. Guess who will be producing with him? Only one of the biggest names in action movies, the notorious Michael Bay. That could spell bad news in the eyes of many fans. I must confess, I do like Michael Bay and some of his movies, but it’s hard to not think about his absolute worst ones. Can we point to the second and last two Transformers movies? And for the record, I actually do enjoy Dark of the Moon quite a lot. On the upside, Michael Bay will not be directing this upcoming American remake of The Raid. That should get people more excited, but you can bet that he’ll be giving a lot of his creative action insight for this remake. And why wouldn’t he? He knows how to direct some killer action scenes, but please, just don’t let him have any creative say on the story. Although I got to admit, Ambulance looks pretty entertaining.
With two producers already on board for this remake of The Raid, who is attached to direct? It looks like Patrick Hughes will be the director. His credentials include The Expendables 3, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, and the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. I haven’t seen the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, but I did enjoy the first one. As for The Expendables 3, I think everyone can agree that one was the worst of the trilogy. Not exactly the most extensive resume, but it does show that he has experience directing action movies. And again, that’s what The Raid movies are all about. Based on reports, Patrick Hughes has a very similar vision for The Raid remake, only more Americanized. Instead of a Jarkata police officer, this remake will have an undercover DEA agent as the main protagonist. His mission is to find a drug kingpin by working with cartel informants, which I assume will involve some fighting. I somehow get a lot of Steven Seagal vibes when I read about this news. What sold on us on the first Raid movie was its emphasis on a foreign martial art that we American audiences aren’t used to seeing. The fact that Gareth Evans got actual Pencak Silat practitioners to lead the film made it feel authentic.
I just don’t get the same vibes when I hear about the synopsis for this remake. The Raid worked because everyone had some knowledge of the Indonesian martial art and very few of the criminals had guns. That idea worked for that particular setting, but maybe not so much for an American one. Reports also suggest that The Raid remake will take place some where in Philadelphia. Do all the cops and small-time criminals in Philadelphia know some kind of martial art? Maybe the main character is one of those cops who actually takes martial arts lessons and maybe all the cartel members practice mixed martial arts for fun. If that’s the case, then maybe this remake will work, but it still won’t feel the same. I do hope Gareth Evans has a lot of creative say in this remake of The Raid, because he knew what made these movies work. Or maybe his name is just attached to it because he was the director for the first two movies? That does happen and I hope that’s not the case for the remake. I just don’t see Patrick Hughes measuring up to what Gareth Evans did. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but it’s hard to top that kind of action. What are your thoughts, fans of The Raid? Maybe Gareth Evans will skip this to direct that Deathstroke movie? One can hope.
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