This action packed cop-film isn’t really like anything you have ever seen before. The Raid is a fast paced martial arts film that not only twists its characters bodies into impossible shapes but it twists your mind too, as you can’t help but watch in horror as blood, body parts and every weapon you can conceive of, and some you would never even dream of, invade the screen and never give you a moment to breathe.
Like most action movies The Raid has a simple storyline, a SWAT team invades an old derelict apartment building in an attempt to take down a crime lord. But as soon as they entre the building everything goes wrong. There are surveillance cameras everywhere and they are being watched from every angle on every floor in addition to being heavily outnumbered. Getting in to the building may have been difficult but now they have to fight their way back out.
Of course there is a hero, Rama (Iko Uwais) a rooky cop with a pregnant wife and as it turns out his own agenda. Other than that there are few characters of interest as most of them are dispensable, which they are along the way. But there is Jaka (Joe Taslim) the right hand man of the boss and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who you quickly learn to hate, fear and be amazed at.
Like Die Hard or the Bourne series The Raid is always on the verge of disbelief but unlike Bruce Willis or Matt Damon, Iko Uwais is not a strong enough lead to make a real hero. While you do root for him and hope he makes it out alive he hasn’t got the screen presence or “it-factor” to make a true action icon. But what he does have is speed and a very flexible bendy body; defying any anatomical possibility he gets punched, kicked and contorted to the extreme. Welsh director Gareth Evans uses Uwais’ strengths and focuses mainly on full body shots so the viewer can appreciate the choreography of the martial scenes, which is basically the whole film.
But if Uwais is lithe and acrobatic his opponent Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) is on a whole other level. This 44-year-old martial arts instructor does thing to his body that are surreal. He seems to feel no pain and no matter what hits him, confines him or should break him he just keeps going like the Duracell bunny, only one made out of rubber. Ruhians fighting scenes are the true highlights of the film and thankfully there are many.
With no real dialogue to speak of, mainly just grunting, screaming and hand signals, it does not matter that The Raid has sub-titles. This film in unashamedly violent and makes no excuses for using machetes when a knife would do or killing people off like flies.
The Raid is a great film for all who love great one-on-one or one-on-many combat scenes, enjoy the goriness of blood and can stomach the harsh brutality of seeing death in vivid action on the big screen.
Short Version Cheers Magazine