<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Gareth Evans. Starring Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy, Ananda George.
Doing very well worldwide in spite of being an Indonesian film, The Raid appeals to those who miss the days of high skill Martial Arts fighting and hand-to-hand combat. Excellent camera work and direction make this a must-watch for fans of the genre.
This small budget Indonesian film by director Gareth Evans has not only captured the imagination of audiences but it has also given the director a leg up. He’s going to be doing a sequel to this film and even an American remake (come on Hollywood, are you really out of original ideas?).
The Raid is a cut-and-dry action movie. There’s no wasting time here. The film starts off with our protagonist Rama (Iko Uwais) kissing his pregnant wife and telling his father he’ll ‘find him and get him back’. Of course, you’re reading the subtitles don’t forget. Rama is part of an elite police team that is on its way to take down a notorious crime lord called Tama (Ray Sahetapy) at his decrepit high rise headquarters that remains a fortress against police and rival gangs.
Lead in to the lion’s lair by an ageing police veteran the team of about 20 cops are quickly found out and relentlessly killed by Tama’s men and the building’s shady occupants who are given an option to fight the police and live rent-free or suffer the consequences. What follows is some of the finest, most explosive and frenzied hand-to-hand combat scenes I’ve seen in a very long time. Of course they use guns too and machetes and knives that poke into adversaries like a sharp pencil through a taught sheet of paper. But the weapons of choice are: hands, legs, head.
The story hinges on tension. Will the brave and skilled cop Rama get out to be with his pregnant wife again? Who is Tama’s henchman Andi to him? Will he be a match for the little Mad Dog assassin? The dialogue moves the plot along and the mystery factor about who betrayed and who will live at the end of this artfully constructed massacre keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you’re not someone who likes violence and gore then you may find yourself watching this from behind your palms. But if you like your fight sequences shot clearly with a steady cam, precision choreographed and tantalisingly accurate, then this film is your Mecca this weekend.