Let's fight! - Colm2305
The Raid is awesome. That's all you need to know. People get thrown into walls, fridges get blown ups, machetes get swung. If you like action you'll love The Raid. Forget about slow motion or over the top explosions, having a small budget works to The Raids advantage as every punch and kick matters. No special effects here just very hard working martial artists demonstrating their ability. If you don't like action (think Die Hard meets Enter the Dragon) The Raid is not for you and is unlikely to win you over, but for everyone else this is a rarity of an action film that leaves you wanting to invest in a rusty machete and practice your roundhouse kick.
Pencak Silat (the Indonesian martial art used in the film) enthusiast (and Welshman) Gareth Evans started off making documentaries on martial arts and his love of the combat is much evident in The Raid. There's a lot more 'common sense' to the combat than we're used to in action films. Yes there is still the elaborate move that's more for style than realism but he makes the action move in a realistic way. When two people attack one person the second doesn't wait on the side for the other to be defeated, they both go all out. It's always intense and creative action but never silly and in Iko Uwais he has found a lead man who can deliver punches and kicks while the audience root for his good nature.
Uwais plays Rama, a soon to be father and rookie member of a SWAT team assigned the difficult mission of taking down Tama, the criminal boss of Jakartas underworld who hides away in a tower block occupied by some dodgy residents with an aggressive dislike for the police. Things aren't always what they seem and before they know it like lambs to the slaughter the team are picked off one by one by Tamas gang, leaving Rama the difficult task of fighting his way out of the building.
And that's really it, there's minor character revelations here and there but for the most part this is simply a man fighting his way out of a building, albeit the most threatening building you've ever seen. No window is safe as snipers shoot anyone who peeks out. Every door hides another threat, whether it's an unarmed expert in martial arts, a man with a machete, a man with a gun, or a group containing each, and the big boss Tama is as ruthless as they come showing no mercy. And don't get me started on his henchman Mad Dog. Legend.
The film mixes together elements of John Woo with Bruce Lee with Die Hard with Leon and really is something special. The filmmakers have done a lot with a small budget (I'm pretty much the same room is used over and over again with just the furniture rearranged) and made an intense gem of a film.
Go see and enjoy, then high kick a lamppost on your way home.
Review published on the 30 May 2012 11:53
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