Film Review: The Raid

Ultraviolent The Raid is one of the best action movies of recent years. Gareth Evans’ film  is exceptionally well executed; The Raid is a tour de force ride.

Police are aware of an apartment building in Jakarta that is run by a notorious gangster and filled with criminals. The police are unwilling to enter the area, apart from a SWAT team tasked with infiltrating the building and arresting gangster Tama. When things don’t go according to plan, the officers are left in a perilous situation…

The Raid offers a fairly simple plot; it does not take very long for the action to commence. The characters are developed sufficiently for the audience to root for the protagonist. Nevertheless, little time is wasted trying to fill in the background of the main characters or adding any superfluous detail. The Raid seems almost like a video game, in the best possible way. The floors function as levels which the hero must pass. Moreover, the action sequences are so superlative that they seem almost unreal.

The pull of The Raid lies in these action sequences. They are fantastically produced. Pacing in the film is good, with little let up between set pieces. The action sequences themselves are choreographed tremendously well. They are frenetic and always engaging.

Evans’ film certainly is not for the faint hearted. The violence is graphic; The Raid does not shy away from depicting some gory moments. Some of the scenes excel in conjuring tension. Others push the limits of plausibility, creating much-needed humour to break up the serious action.

Ray Sahetapy is suitably caricature as villain Tama. Iko Uwais makes a good protagonist, bringing the physicality needed for a character such as Rama. Uwais also choreographed the excellent fights, along with Yayan Ruhian. Gareth Evans edits the film successfully, as well as writing and directing. The camera work is most successful in utilising the space and capturing the frenzied action.

The Raid is highly recommended viewing for action film fans. Those of a nervous disposition may want to avoid this one.