Sometimes a little film comes along that’s so uniquely affecting, unapologetically brutal, and fearlessly executed that it can’t help but take the world by storm, no matter how humble its beginnings. The Raid is one of those films. An Indonesian actioner written and directed by Welshman Gareth Evans, it’s already blazed through the festival circuit (it premiered in Toronto in September 2011, where it won the Midnight Madness award), and is so bruising an experience it’ll leave you in need of a good lie down.
The titular raid takes up the bulk of the running time as an elite police team break into a derelict Jakarta apartment block. This hive-like warren of grungy corridors is home to a dangerous drug lord and his crew of pushers/protectors, all of whom are prepared for anything the police might throw at them. Among the cops is rookie SWAT Rama (Iko Uwais). He’s got his own ulterior motive for taking part in the raid – somebody he knows is living in the high rise, and he’s determined to rescue them, or die trying.
As our underdog hero, Uwais is both likable and easy on the eye. He’s also more than up to Evans’ rigorous demands. The director dreamt The Raid up as a gnarly showcase for martial art form Pencak Silat, and his film succeeds as an exhausting sequence of innovative fights that will have you variously twisting yourself into knots, screaming with delight and laughing your head off. That’s in no small part thanks to Uwais, who smashes his way enigmatically through more fights than Mohammad Ali. The Raid is raw, dangerous and exhilarating. This won’t be the last you’ll hear of it, either. An Indonesian sequel and a Hollywood remake are already on the way. Don’t miss out on the madness. 3/5
Via Out In The City