Yayan Ruhian, left, and Joe Taslim.

Yayan Ruhian, left, and Joe Taslim. Credit: Yayan Ruhian, left, and Joe Taslim.

The Raid: Redemption
3 stars
Directed by Gareth Evans
Starring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Yayan Ruhian,Ray Sahetapy
Rated R

The Indonesian action film "The Raid: Redemption" takes a very simple premise and an even simpler conceit and then turns them into an art form.

The premise: A SWAT team raids a gargantuan, derelict apartment building run by a crime lord named Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and filled with dangerous, violent criminals. Tama gets wind of the raid and traps the soldiers, setting off an extended fight for survival.

The conceit: a feature-length barrage of full-throttle, amped-up violence. Nothing else really matters to writer-director Gareth Evans.

The filmmaker turns the video-game-like setup into an exercise in nonstop tension, as the commandos are under constant siege inside the darkened, decaying concrete fortress. You never know when the next crazed, machete-wielding bad guy might materialize, and the screenplay features some inventive close calls.

At the same time, the bloody violence is so expertly choreographed that it's practically poetic, combining Indonesian martial arts, sword and knife play, and fiery gun battles in a symphony of gleeful destruction. 

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