Gareth Evans directs this visceral action thriller as a SWAT team gets trapped in an apartment building with thugs, killers and mercenaries and must fight their way through it, the film stars Iko Uwais, Ananda Geroge, Ray Sahetapy. The Raid has a few elements in it that add to its gritty, visceral style and with its single location set up, it’s sort of like the first Die Hard but I’d say The Raid has better and more gripping action, they’re vastly different films anyway but I think they do have the set up in common.
Anyway The Raid is some thrilling stuff and works well because of its simplicity, not throwing an overly complicated plot or characters at the audience, you know what’s going on and what the characters are trying to do and you want to watch people punch each other lot and stuff and that’s exactly what you get, the film delivers what audiences want out of a film like this and it doesn’t disappoint. Because the plot is so breakneck in its pacing and flow with unexpected twists and turns and some thrilling, often extended action sequences, Iko Uwais really shines as Rama, one of the main characters and someone you really get behind as he’s a good guy and has some stellar fighting skills, taking on several baddies at times in ridiculously lop-sided face offs. With Yayan Ruhian playing Mad Dog, Ramas his opposite as the antagonist fighter (though not the big bad of the story), he’s small but deadly and his fight with Raman and Andi is one of the best fights I’ve seen in recent years.
The way the fights are choreographed and play out is some great entertainment, importantly we get a good look at the action and shaky cam isn’t employed like it often is in a lot of action films these days and we see the brutal bone breaking moves/manoeuvres, emphasized with close ups and excruciating sound effects, the fights are really brutal and each hit on characters feels impactful, something a lot of action films don’t quite capture. And although the great action scenes are nine tenths of what makes the film a great watch, it also has some good dramatic moments and character motivations as well, we see extra reasons for why some SWAT members are in the apartment in the first place and we get to see the bad guys plans as well, there definitely is a story here and it serves the action well.
The Raid is simple, thrilling action at its best with some fantastic fights, great pacing and a good sense of tension and immediacy when it comes to the characters, their motivations and actions with a plot that’s easy to follow, a great film overall.
. Excellent action sequences, hits look very painful
. Great pacing, film flies by and is a great watch
. Characters have believable motivations and actions, aren’t fighting for no reason