The Raid: Redemption kicked its way into theaters back in 2011. It is a shame that it didn’t get a wide release, but Americans don’t dig subtitles, so what are you gonna do? I was working in finance at the time and knew the manager of a local art house theater. I pleaded for him to pull strings to land the film and lucky enough he managed to secure it for a week. I watched it three times — it was so damn good! I loved every minute of martial arts action as the 20-man special forces unit worked their way to the top of an apartment building housing a drug lord and his thugs.
Three years later a sequel was born, simply titled The Raid 2. It picked up right after the end of The Raid: Redemption. The Raid 2 indeed has its moments, but in my opinion, it never came close to the intensity of its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, it is worth a watch. Hell, in my opinion it’s even worth a blind buy. The pair of movies are that damn good. So, The Raid #1 by Titan Books hits shelves today. I am kind of shocked that it took this long for someone to attempt to tackle the title in comic book form.
What is the book about?
The Raid #1 focuses on events that happens during the film The Raid 2. I found this to be an interesting choice since the story runs parallel to the film. I thought for sure that the story would focus on Rama, the hero cop from the first film and his future adventures. But instead we are given a side story set in a familiar background. Familiar if you’ve seen the films, that is.
Rama has gone undercover in a prison to get close to Uco, the son of a major crime lord named Bangun. Now known as “Yuda,” Rama has to make his moves to get Uco to trust him. However, a new variable has come in to play. Teja, a young and tough special forces cop gathered his own posse of troops to take down another crime boss by the name of Bejo. The cops bust up a local night club and arrest Bejo, but Teja quickly learns there are boundaries and he just crossed them. And just like that Teja is now in the same prison as Rama. And Rama’s situation intensifies once Teja recognizes him in the prison. Will he blow Rama’s cover?
I thought The Raid #1 was a solid start to a fresh story. A big positive is the first page in the book, which details each character by name and the role that they play in the story. This is huge if you haven’t watched The Raid films (shame on you if you haven’t). So, the book doesn’t scare off new readers at all, but I will tell you that you are severely missing out if you pick up this book without watching the movies.
Ollie Masters does a fantastic job with the character scripting — it feels real and the dialogue is believable. The film’s real star is all the action and thankfully the creators of the book recognized that as artist Budi Setiawan and colorist Brad Simpson kill it with the action they have illustrated. From the nightclub to the prison, the brutality is glorious and feels like it’s straight from the films.
I don’t have a lot to complain about here. I do strongly suggest you watch the films before you read the comic. Well, I guess I do have a minor complaint: Obviously, I know how The Raid 2 ends, so I kinda feel like I know what is going to happen with Teja, but maybe Masters will write a surprise twist somewhere.
Those X-Ray shots of bones being broken, and faces being smashed by prison lunch trays! Brutal!
If you are a fan of the Raid films, this is a no-brainer — you gotta pick this up. Most of the characters from The Raid 2 are on display in this first issue, including Hammer Girl. If you haven’t seen the films, I can see the book could still be enjoyable, but you are going to be lost. Even with the useful description of the characters at the front of the book, it doesn’t give you the full experience. But I am interested in the new guy, Teja. I’m ready to see what Masters has up his sleeve.
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