The Raid – Review

The Raid – Review

Review by FilmFellaLozz – 8.7/10

This is the one film that I’ve been looking forward to in 2012. Some people can’t wait to see Prometheus or The Dark Knight Rises; but for me, The Raid was the one. Ever since the most violent trailer I’ve ever seen emerged online a few months back, it felt like the release date would never come. But it’s now arrived. Following a vigorous UK marketing campaign; would what appeared to be the action movie of the year live up to the trailer? I’m happy to say: Absolutely. It. Kicked. Ass. Big Time.

Gareth Evans’ The Raid follows rookie SWAT guy, Rama, and his team as they sneak their way into the most dangerous apartment block in town. Housing wall to wall bad guys, they attempt to bring down the crime lord, Tama. But to get to him, they gotta ascend the building floor by floor bypassing the machine guns, machete wielding nutters and a crazy little man who likes nothing more than a little bit of fisticuffs, Silat style. This ain’t gonna be no easy in n’ out job.

After going off to Indonesia a couple of years ago to make a martial arts documentary, Evans met Iko Uwais, a very talented martial artist. Having no experience in this industry, Evans sent him off to acting school, hoping to make an action movie with Iko as his star. Subsequently they made Merantau in 2009. But Welshman Gareth Evans had bigger plans; and so we have The Raid. It’s an explosive movie, pushing the boundaries of action and martial arts, and what results is a perfect blend of both. He’s also managed to merge Eastern and Western action cinema in equal measure. It’s a movie the world over can enjoy…if you have a strong stomach, that is.

Back to the movie. Rama is the right kind of action hero. He sticks to his morals, protects the innocent and beats the shit out of the baddies, in the most entertaining, exhausting, energetic way possible. The movie is linked with a few scenes of downtime, expertly included, to give us a breather before another amazingly choreographed set piece. And these set pieces are lengthy; fight scenes that allow us to see the action, to see these guys do what they do best, allowing them to show off and fascinate us with their skills. Evans does exactly what he should do when shooting this kind of stuff; he keeps us (the camera) away from the fights, so we can see it all. And it’s impressive. It’s a shame when movies use the handheld technique; where the image is all over the place and blurry, too close to see anything. Here, you see everything. Every neck break, every thwack to the face, every slash of a knife or machete or even a throat to the jagged remnants of a door. Nice. I’ve never watched a movie that evoked so many gasps, oofs and eeks from its audience.

The narrative is basic, and it’s obvious how Evans has been influenced; from overall story and dialogue to individual scenes. Some reminiscent of movies such as Escape from New York and Die Hard, together with numerous Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee flicks. But it’s what he’s done with the material. He’s amped up the testosterone and combined it with unabashed violence. Some of which includes a guy falling from a great height and cracking his back in half, some other unfortunate son of a bitch getting his head smashed down a wall of lights and another having a fully loaded gun emptied into his face, close up. It’s really not for the squeamish.

One of the very few seasoned actors in this is Ray Sehatepy. He’s the big bad boss and he’s one scary motherfucker. He’s one of those villains who doesn’t really lose his temper, but he sure as hell likes to kill people. The best action movies always have memorable nasty pieces of work as the main antagonist; but let’s not forget his right hand man. In this, we have Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), a man of minor stature who loves to down the weapons in order to take on his foe with some hand-to-hand, leg-to-face combat. Ruhian, another non-actor, appeared in Evans’ previous movie, Marentau with Uwais. He won his co-starring role as he appeared to be the only guy who could kick ass with his Pencak Silat expertise, combined with his (inner breathing) ability to withstand any impact to the body. This, he teaches to the military! The Raid, though, utilises his specific skill set in order to capture some very realistic fights. And he looks like a crazy loon; an ultra, tough, crazy loon.

Having attended a special screening with Gareth Evans doing a Q&A after, he informed us that the movie cost in the region of about $1.2 million dollars. When compared to a Hollywood actioner, this definitely holds up at a fraction of the cost. It’s also probably going to be better than any action movie to come out of the U.S this year. With this in mind, Evans also mentioned a little thing called a sequel that’s in the pipeline. But whereas this movie occupies the one location undeniably well incorporating the environment, the follow-up will see Rama out on the streets. Those streets ain’t gonna know what hit them. Evans also said that he’s working out the details of scene whereby Rama fights 4 guys inside of a car on the highway! I’m sold just on that.

The Raid is one of the best films of 2012 and I urge people to go see it. Yes, it’s an Indonesian movie. Yes, with subtitles. But these are, in all honesty, few and far between. No time for talking when you’re kicking ass…and face…lots and lots of times.

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3 Responses to The Raid – Review

  1. Mark Walker says:

    Excellent review man. I was going to bypass this one as I’m not that big on action movies but I think I’ll check this out now. Cheers man.

    • Filmfella Lozz says:

      Thanks Mark, really appreciated. Yeah, definitely check this out. And thank you for the continued support you’ve been giving Thefilmfellas.

  2. Victor De Leon says:

    good write up. this movie was just too much damn fun. good job.

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