A CASE FOR BETTER ACTION MOVIES – Character Study: Rama From THE RAID/THE RAID 2 (2011-2014)
From delivery man to cult film star, Iko Uwais‘s career has been one of the mucuh larger bright spots of the past decade or so for martial arts action cinema. Fans have poured in droves to see him at work since breaking out in the 2009 film, Merantau, which also solidly contributed much to the resurgence of the Indonesian action film industry in the last ten years. For this, we were eventually granted with a delightful reapproach by action auteur Gareth Evans for a script that found its way to a rewritten draft for a character that would ultimately emerge as one of the most electrifying protagonists in action movie history, Rama in the 2011 contained crime epic, Seruban Maut, a.k.a. The Raid, and by all means, the recognition and value here stand for much more than just entertainment appeal.
In the film, Rama is a rookie member of a tactical unit unwittingly caught at the center of a conspiracy that would ultimately put the lives of himself and his team in danger, outnumbered and cut off from any and all outside help as they must fight their way through bullets, blades and fire in a Jakarta crime boss’s 30-story tenament building. From this, the story of the saga progresses onward with the immediate involvement of Rama as he looks to reconnect with his estranged criminal brother, Andi, played by Donny Alamsyah, and The Raid soon evolves from a crime story to an intrinsic, two-movie character thriller that focuses on family, loyalty and one man’s search for ultimate justice beyond the law.
Moreover, the first two films most notably convey Rama through the underlying central theme of his life as a family man: a practicing Muslim, which undoubtedly sets the stage for confliction and inner-turmoil for a man whose career has been nothing short of a rip-roaring trial-by-fire, with no choice but adhere to his natural, most violent instincts in order to live. By no means is Rama a violent man, although knows where he stands in the career he’s chosen.
Between both films, the last thing he expected was to have to endure another dangerous mission that could endanger him, his wife and son and other good cops, as well as further diminish his chances at a normal life. And so with every last breath and every injury he suffers, he kicks, punches, chops, slashes, bashes and mutilates his way through the odds with methodical fervor and will, and the faith he stands by in the hopes that he will live to tell the tale.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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