When someone tells you ‘don’t believe the hype’ in regards to a certain film you have to say the majority of the time there true as that film ends up being a disappointment not living up to the hype. However, there are times such as Gareth Evans The Raid a film that’s built up such a hype from its days on the festival circuit lived up to hype delivering what it has promised full on intense action, believe the hype? The Raid yes!
Deep in the heart of one of Jakarta’s most deprived slums lies an impenetrable high-rise block a so called safe haven for one of the city’s most notorious crime lords Tama (Ray Sahetapy).Along with Tama in this fort like a safe house, you will also find the city’s other most dangerous killers, gangsters who will do anything for Tama to stay under his protection.Sick of Tama’s control of the crime in the city under the cover of the pre-dawn darkness a crack police swat team enters the building in an attempt to flush the crimelord out of his hiding. The squad make their way up raiding floor by floor until they encounter a resident who blows their cover alerting Tama who then locks down the building offering everyone nasty piece of work life long sanctuary if they take out the Police.Things go bad to worse for the police when their leader is killed, the only way they are going to survive is to go up with no guidance rookie cop Rama (Iko Iwais) steps forward guides the team floor by floor to try complete mission impossible.
Some people have commented on The Raid‘s simple storyline been a negative one I completely disagree. Anything more than a simple plot would have complicated things loose its focus on the main star of the film the action. The Raid is a visceral like no other , it’s deranged , crafted with so much intensity and brutality it runs like a Japanese Bullet Train (or Indonesian one in this film!).if you make one false move you fall off and this film is one ride you want to stay for the films 90 minutes running time. It’s not all fast paced from start to finish the final third of the film does slow down a few notches but still moving at a pace that doesn’t feel out of place from the rest of the film.
If your ever in a dire need for a one man army Iko Iwais is your man for the job, he’s the star of Evan’s previous film Menratu which he was excellent at in The Raid he really excels himself.What he can do with a knife would embarrass Wolverine with his titanium claws, he stabs, slices through every bad guy threw at him with such deadly precision. But what we do really like about him is, he reminds us without a weapon a human possess the most dangerous weaponry your hands and feet. He switches between hand to hand combat to weapons with the minimum of ease and at no time do we ever feel he is superhuman but an ordinary Joe whose been dumped in a place he must fight to survive. You could say Rama (Iwais) is a little bit like a certain Bryan Mills who has a particular set of skills he can use with such deadly force! If you’re looking for anyone who thinks their superhuman leave that to Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who is like that video game final end of level boss the one before you confront the big honcho he knows the true power of using your hands and feet as weapons, also a reminder size doesn’t matter it’s what you do that does.
You could say Gareth Evans is living that fanboy dream like the way Quentin Tarantino does making films from what has inspired him. You can clearly see John Carpenter‘s Assault on Precinct 13 and early John Woo films have inspired The Raid, what this film does do is put Hollywood to shame when it comes to action films. With the film’s ferocious quality and bragging a budget that proves you don’t need Hollywood style funding to create something uniquely raw and visceral.
The Raid is that heavenly film action and martial arts film fans have been crying out for. In an era where the action genre is looking back to its top stars to provide the entertainment with Martial Arts whose main stars are getting to an age where they should call it a day, The Raid might just be that film that provides the kick start they desire. The Raid is that new hope as is Iko Iwais the star they need to get things moving again, this film won’t confuse you with over complicated plots just the best unapologetic intense visceral fun you will have had in years.
★★★★★| Paul Devine
Action, Crime, Thriller | Indonesia, 2011 | 18 | 24th September 2012 (UK) | Momentum Pictures | Dir.Gareth Hughes | Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno |Buy: On Blu-ray / DVD