Onto this bleak landscape wanders “The Raid: Redemption,” offering a different virtue: simplicity. It’s as elegant in conception as a windup toy. A group of elite police officers enter a tenement to arrest a crime lord. The tenement turns out to be a death trap. They have to fight their way out. So they fight. And fight. And fight. The movie, once wound up, never winds down.

Is it possible that an American director could ape this model? Of course — in fact, there’s an American remake already in the works. (I fully expect Channing Tatum.) Perhaps it’s a good sign that American movie producers are now looking to foreign competitors, much in the way American car companies started copying the business practices of their more nimble counterparts overseas. Hong Kong Action movie  have long been better than ours, even after we stole John Woo and brought him to Hollywood and forced him to work with John Travolta. Korean action films are better than ours, too. So are lots of French action films. And we can now add Indonesian action films to that list. We invented this form, we got great at it, but then we stuck fins on it, filled it with cup-holders, started making it on a robot-assembly line and lost all sense of quality control.

Or perhaps it would be better, as with Rambo in that alternate ending, to just put the genre out of its weepy misery. The American action film: once invulnerable, long wounded, now certifiably dead. It certainly racked up an impressive body count. So maybe we should afford it the one fate no action hero ever afforded his enemies: to let it, in its failing dotage, slip away peacefully.