Wednesday 16 May 2012

The Raid - Review

A tower block in Jakarta.  Home to a crime lord and his cronies.  An elite squad of police officers sent to capture him and clean out fifteen floors worth of evil.  What could go wrong?

Um, how bout everything?

The Raid is a little work of genius from Gareth Evans (I know, we hadn't heard of him either), it races by in a blur of beautifully choreographed gun play and fight scenes.  Claustrophobic and relentless, the violence is gritty and real, if you don't like the blood, this isn't for you.  The story is merely a device to get us up the tower block of doom, but hell, who cares?  When a movie leaves your jaw on the floor of the cinema without any CGI these days it's something to cherish.

Made to showcase the Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat, fights are the bricks and mortar of The Raid.  Two scenes in particular, one in a corridor and one late on, where blinking on the viewers part means missing something crucial, leave you breathless.  Remember those logic defying fist fights in The Matrix?  Well these are like those, minus the camera trickery.  And with knives.

Lead, Iko Uwais, looks set to be a star.  His performance is the stand out in a movie that doesn't have a lot of room for its actors to act, but he brings a humble presence as the police officer determined to stay alive as the shit hits the tower block fan.

The Raid isn't going to be for everyone.  Subtitles will turn off a few.  The low budget look and feel will turn off others.  No doubt some will just not be interested in a movie set in Indonesia and others will struggle with the violence.  Even if you think you fall in those camps, go.  You might just come out of the cinema grinning like a loon at the brilliance of it all.


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