Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Movies: Two-Fisted Action Times Two

Two hugely entertaining films are out right now. Both are foreign and set to be remade, so why not be the cool kid on your block and talk about how much you enjoyed the originals? I know I will.

The Raid: Redemption. Before you say, “Not another Indonesian martial arts epic directed by a Welshman,” hear me out. The tagline on the poster lays out all you need to know: 1 ruthless crime lord, 20 elite cops, 30 floors of chaos. A SWAT team plans to pry a kingpin out of the Jakarta apartment building that serves as his stronghold. But some of the cops are bad, some of the henchmen may be good, and even the raid itself may not be what it appears. Never has an action film been so stabby – every blade imaginable is put to use – and it’s been years since one has been this relentless. 100 minutes of bone-crunching, high-tension joy. In theaters now.

Sleepless Night, aka Nuit Blanche. Regular readers may recall my delight last year at having filmmaker Nicolas Saada say mise-en-scène to me over cocktails in a Paris bar. Nicolas is the co-writer of this propulsive policier that again establishes its stakes with admirable simplicity. Crooked cop Tomer Sisley and his partner boost a cocaine stash. The local Corsican gangsters snatch divorced dad Sisley’s son in response and demand an exchange at their sprawling nightclub on the outskirts of Paris. Appropriately called Le Tarmac, it’s the size of an airplane hangar, kitted out with a first-class restaurant, a pool hall, and multiple bars, discos and karaoke lounges. Inventive use of all of them will be made as Sisley dervishes through the club once the hand-off goes awry, ducking well-meaning Internal Affairs cops, other bent gendarmes, the drugs’ owners and their bloodthirsty competition. Some dynamite script construction is on display as every casual bit of information pays off in unexpected ways. Available via on demand through the Tribeca Film Festival. Here’s the trailer.