The Raid (2012)
The Raid is AWESOME. Despite lacking in character and plot, it manages to provide some of the best action that cinemas have been bludgeoned with in recent years. Fast, furious, bloody, insane, hilarious fun and incredibly violent, The Raid is a brutally fantastic action flick.
Rama (Iko Uwais) is a rookie cop with a pregnant wife and he’s sent with a crack police squad to eradicate a ruthless crime lord. This crime lord has spent years taking lives and dealing with dodgy policemen and finally – hopefully – the cops have decided to take him out.
Housed in a thirty storey block of flats, crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy) doesn’t appear too concerned when twenty elite cops appear in his stairwells. Why? Because he’s prepared… with guns, knives, machetes and sniper rifles.
Within minutes of the operation our hero finds himself outgunned, outnumbered and out of options. He has to fight his way out, one machete-wielding maniac at a time. And sometimes five.
The Raid is anything but complicated. If you’re after stirring drama then you’re in the wrong place. Violence? Yes. Blood? Yes. Some superbly memorable set pieces? Hell yes. A plot? Kind of…
The Raid is let down by its poor plotting and bizarre character motivations, which appear tacked on and mostly irrelevant, almost to the point of distraction at times. Only focusing on Rama’s background and personality (for about three seconds) it leaves any scenes without Iko Uwais feeling pointless.
Luckily for Raid creator Gareth Evans he’s created such a compellingly insane action film that plot & character don’t particularly matter. It is clear Evans’ focus is 100% on displaying the insanely brilliant Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat, which Iko Uwais unleashes with frequent voracity. It’s exhausting to watch.
Evans is a welsh-born filmmaker who moved to Indonesia half a decade ago and never came back, documenting and studying Pencak Silat, which then culminated in The Raid. He writes, directs, edits and choreographs, and the result is a monumental achievement.
Huge praise has to go to Iko Uwais, who proves himself to be a versatile and absurdly skilled fighter / actor. Reminiscent of Tony Ja in the Ong Bak films, he shoots, stabs, punches, kicks and elbows the living crap out of everything in his way. It’s stunning and hypnotic.
To help explain how utterly insane The Raid is, the cast includes characters named Mad Dog’s Man #3, Carrying Bowo Fighter #15, Hole Drop Attacker #7, Tama’s Victim #5, AK-47 Attacker #4, Tortured Man and Drug Lab Guard #21! There are DOZENS of people that meet a grizzly and brutal demise – legs snap, necks are sliced, heads are riddled with bullets and people are thrown about like ragdolls. It’s absurdly brutal and – rather troubling for my morality – gleefully fun because of it.
For anyone who’s never seen a martial arts film before – or freerunning films like District 13 or The Devil’s Playground – this will blow your mind. Although those who love a slow-burning romantic drama and hate violence, you probably should avoid this… and Gorepress… altogether.
The Raid is a spectacularly violent, brutally exciting experience. For what it lacks in character, plot and subtlety it makes up 10-fold with exhilarating action and endless thrills. Apparently part of a planned triology, I for one cannot wait for the sequel. The Raid is awesome.