While this might seem like an odd pairing, I think the two Raid movies make a nice contrast to the Robocop remake. To me, the remake seems to represent everything I dislike about modern action movies, while The Raid and its sequel represent how to do an action movie right.
You know a movie is bad when halfway through it the person you're with says "How much longer is left in this movie?" Even worse is when you've been thinking that to yourself for the last twenty minutes, which is what I found myself doing after the first half hour of Robocop.
About half the time during the remake of Robocop I had no idea what was going on. The action is just so fast and close up that it's difficult to tell who's doing what. This style, which a lot of modern action movies seem to adopt, is confusing and pulls the viewer out of the movie. I spent more time trying to figure out what was happening than I did actually watching the movie.
The movie has even less subtlety than the original, which wasn't all that subtle in the first place (The 6000 SUX). This new one thinks it's being clever and sly with i's social commentary but it's wearing it right on its sleeve.
I wasn't upset that I paid the $1 to see the movie, even though it wasn't worth it. I'm more annoyed that I wasted two hours of my life on this movie.
The Raid: Redemption and it's sequel The Raid 2: Berandal, on the other hand, are two prime examples of modern action movies that are done right. They stand starkly contrasted with Robocop.
The first movie is a simple tower style movie, where a raid goes wrong and a group of cops must fight their way out of a building controlled by a vicious drug dealer. The movie is concise and to the point. There's about 20 minutes of plot and the rest of the movie consists of people having ridiculous kung fu fights.
Normally, this would be an over the top fanboy's wet dream but the fights are so well shot that they actually elevate the movie to a whole new level. People don't just fall down when hit. They get back up and continue fighting, even after being stabbed and beaten multiple times. There is a feeling of realism to the movie that most movies lack.
The fights are all framed in long, wide shots. You can actually see what's happening. It isn't just a series of quick cuts from one punch to the next. There is a fluidity to the fights. They have a sense of space about them.
If the first movie is all fighting, then the second movie is all plot. The sequel runs almost an hour longer, at two and a half hours. For an action movie, that's pretty rare. Every twenty minutes or so, just when you're thinking to yourself that no one has gotten beaten up in a while, a fight scene will break out. The movie didn't feel long at all and the pacing felt strong.
The climactic fight scene, which takes place in a kitchen, is almost ten minutes long and is non-stop. It's a great cap to a great pair of movies. I'm interested in what the next movie will have in store.
Viewed in Theaters (Robocop and The Raid 2: Berandal) and on iTunes rental (The Raid: Redemption)