Offering a set-up as straightforward as they come, The Raid delivers bone-crunching brilliance on a truly epic scale. Full of arse clenching tension from the opening frames, the action grows increasingly mental as the film moves along and the main players run out of bullets. This is genuinely one of the most spectacularly entertaining action films in recent memory.
The Raid opens with rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) saying goodbye to his heavily pregnant wife for the day as he heads off to work. This unusual day in work involves him and the other members of his SWAT team raiding the grubby high rise fortress of a ruthless local gangland leader who is housed on the top floor. When they get there, the cops realise they're horribly outnumbered and consequently, they bleed men on every floor. Instead of an arrest taking place, it becomes a battle to survive by any means necessary - which involves pretty much everyone getting the living shit kicked out of them.
In a strange mix, Welsh director Gareth Evans took on this surprisingly low-budget Indonesian flick after discovering hard bastard lead, Uwais, at Silat school during a documentary a few years back. What a find he was; not since Tony Jaa has an actor kicked such unrelenting amounts of ass. What's more, the young star does it all while sporting a baby face you're more likely to see on children's television. For western audiences, comparing The Raid to Jaa's Ong Bak is probably the most apt parallel, but this film is actually more violent, and the wonderfully simple concept complements the blood-drenched action perfectly. Good guys go to a building full of bad guys and all hell breaks loose - that's pretty much it.
I'm not shocked to hear that The Raid is already being prepped by Hollywood to be remade, because of the aforementioned concept. But there is little chance the action will pack anywhere near as blisteringly visceral a punch as it does here. Evans shoots most of the hand-to-hand combat scenes with a steadicam and allows them to flow, rather than overcutting them. That shows supreme confidence in Uwais and the stunt team, who dutifully oblige their director with consistently impressive fisticuffs.
Action fans do not want to miss this. The Raid will charge you ten quid (or so) to slap you stupid - and it's worth every penny.