September 16, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Raid'

The Raid (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

If I told you that, without a shadow of a doubt, that the best action flick that these eyes have seen in years, would be an Indonesian film directed by a Welshman, you might well think that I was on some sort of mind altering drug. Well, I am not on drugs but I do speak the truth. The Raid is hands-down one of the most exciting and visceral movie experiences I have seen.

The film, directed by Gareth Evans, was recently released in the US with Redemption added on to the title. Why? Fuck knows. It adds nothing aside from giving the illusion that this might be a sequel of some description. Well, it isn’t a sequel, and fortunately for this UK release it is being unleashed with its original title of The Raid. This is a title that is short and sweet, and sums up the movie perfectly.

In The Raid an elite S.W.A.T. team is preparing to storm a high rise apartment building in a rundown section of Jakarta. The team is briefed, as much as they can be, but nothing can prepare them for the hell that they will find inside. The reason that they are targeting this block is because a notorious crime lord has taken residency there, and because of this the apartment block is filled to the brim of criminals, mainly of the gun-toting or machete-wielding variety, who have taken safe haven there.

The crime lord has the building on lockdown, with cameras everywhere, and the S.W.A.T. team soon becomes aware that this is not going to be an easy mission. As once inside they have 30 floors of mayhem to get through, as the numerous amount of criminals attempt to scupper the polices’ plans.

Leading the assault is Rama, and to tell the truth he may well have been better off attacking this block by himself. He’s a kick-ass son-of-a-bitch and it soon becomes apparent that he is going to have to do the majority of the donkey work himself.

Now, there is a little more to the story as bits and pieces are revealed throughout, to add a little more depth to the film. At its core though, and on the surface, The Raid is pure and simple a balls-out action flick that never lets up throughout its running time. It really is an exhilarating viewing experience that has to be seen to be believed. The action flows, the fights are terrific and the choreography is nigh-on perfection throughout.

On top of all the action, and there really is a shitload, there is also an incredibly cool score provided by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. Regardless of your thoughts on Shinoda’s day job, he has, alongside Joseph Trapanese, composed a truly fitting score. Excellent stuff.

The two stars of the film though are Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais. Evans directs, and wrote and edited, with an incredible assurance and skill, taking the confined spaces and utilizing them to perfection, giving the film a grand scale appearance and a truly exciting film. Uwais, as Rama, is someone to behold though. Remember when you first saw Tony Jaa kick ass in Ong-Bak? Well, watching Uwais is akin to that experience, albeit with a little more variety and spice to events. Keep your eyes out for anything Evans and Uwais do in the future, starting with Berendal next year, as they look like they will be keeping screens red hot.

The version of The Raid I watched was the DVD release, and there are plenty of cool extras included. There’s UK exclusive commentary, conversations between Evans and Shinoda, fan films and more. I didn’t get through all of them, but what I did see was quite cool. I do believe that the Blu-ray release includes two versions of the film; the US version and the original uncut version, so that will definitely be worth checking out.

What the hell am I saying? Check this out regardless. Stop watching whatever you have on now, and put this film on. Action films will seem boring after you have joined Rama on this raid. The Raid is nigh-on action perfection.

The Raid is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Momentum Pictures, in the UK, on September 24th.


Maynard Morrissey said...

Adorable movie, probably the greatest action movie of all time. Had the honor of watching it 2 times on the big screen - had a total blast both times!

Anonymous said...

Something else that a lot of people have overlooked about this movie is the fact that it is set in a high building, thats always a superb place to set any film, in fact its strange that there haven`t been more examples throughout the history of cinema when you think about the incredible potential for thrills, excitement, tension, and action that that setting has.