Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hollywood's highway to Hell

So what am I saying? "The Raid: Redemption" failed as a generic success because it simplified its plot too much? Not really. It is a generic success. And yet my heart sank and I asked myself: Is this all they want? Are audiences satisfied with ceaseless violence, just so long as they can praise it for being "well choreographed?" Is there no appreciation for human dimension, meaning, and morality? Westerns were the first Hollywood morality plays, and it was always clear who was good and who was bad. Now it doesn't matter so much, and the cops and robbers in "The Raid" agree with Red Sanders: "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."
Another quote from my review: "There's obviously an audience for the film, probably a large one. They are content, even eager, to sit in a theater and watch one action figure after another pound and blast one another to death. Have you noticed how cats and dogs will look at a TV screen on which there are things jumping around? It is to that level of the brain's reptilian complex that the film appeals."
I can't take this much longer. I can't function like a butcher's scale. Is it enough to spend two hours determining if a film "achieves its generic purpose?" Shouldn't it do more than that? Perhaps provide some humor, humanity, romance, suspense, beauty, strategy, poetry. Not all of those qualities, but at least several of them. "The Raid" didn't even supply a single good-looking publicity still.
I've seen some incredibly brutal South Korean films recently, like "The Chaser," that contain enough violence to stun any fan of "The Raid" but also have the advantage of being very good films, with intriguing characters, puzzling plots, and ingenious situations. I watched spellbound. "The Raid: Redemption" is dead in the water. The butcher slams the raw slab on his scale and asks, "How many are you feeding?"
These thoughts, some readers inform me, are a function of my age. I'm too old to appreciate a movie like this any longer.

Roger Ebert is a lapsed Catholic turned atheist. It doesn’t occur to him that the very thing he finds repellent about this film, and its natural constituency, is the logical and inexorable outworking of a secularized society. That’s the residual scum after you drain away Christianity. 


  1. Simulated gladitorial games. We can now get our pagan catharsis without anyone actually dying. I wonder how long simulated death and mayhem will suffice.

  2. The man certainly has a way with prose. I LOLed a couple times while reading it.