One block of flats full of dodgy thugs. One team of police enter to put them away. Go!
The Raid is bare bones in plot, the above is pretty much all you need to know to allow for a film full of fighting and it doesn’t matter much. The bad guys are your typical drug pushers, murderers and the like, with three elites at the top. The police force are a team of rookies, and we follow one who seems to know his martial arts. Rama (Iko Uwais) is his name and knifing bad guys in the knees is his game. The good and the bad collide within the claustrophobic block and it is like stepping into hell. Down time is rare and the further the film goes, the bleaker things get. It seems every resident of this place has a knife or a gun and with doors on every side if the thin corridors, there is never a safe zone. So they fight. And fighting is what they know best.
With very little dialogue, communication is largely done through fists. It starts with heavy shooting, real heavy sounding guns signalling the start of it all like trumpets signalling the start of war. But it isn’t long before ammo runs low and knives and martial arts come into play. The battles in the tight spaces are amazing, rarely room to swing a cat, leading to some real mind bending moves. Punching a guy out of a window is one thing, but exploding fridges, cleaver fights and cracking a guy’s face into some wooden spikes is another thing entirely. This film delivers by one upping itself each scene and by the end of the relentless battling you’ll have probably seen most ways to kill a man with a pair of hands. It’s a shame there are only two stand out villains who get much time to shine. I was waiting for a final showdown which never came. The final fight wasn’t with the big bad, just a mad man who believes shooting a man in the face is as tedious as ordering take away. Okay, it’s still pretty awesome then.
The Raid is for those who like action and little else. Don’t expect romance or an intriguing plot, it just doesn’t deliver on an engaging narrative front. But what it does have is some the most intense and brutal fight scenes which put most recent action films to shame. The Expendables are looking like a bunch of steroid pumped losers now.
Don’t fear the subtitles and wait for the American remake. Talking only constitutes to 1% of the film anyway. You aren’t going to beat down on the 1%, are you? You monster.