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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 04.07.12] action martial arts

Year: 2012
Directors: Gareth Evans
Writers: Gareth Evans
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

In short, The Raid is as good as you've heard and if you're the kind of action junkie who's always looking for a balls-to-the wall example of the real deal you won't at all be disappointed if you head to the theatre this weekend.

Gareth Evans. A Welshman making martial arts films in Indonesia. Who knew this guy would emerge as a bleeding edge talent of the genre? I'd heard of his Merantau, but I never saw it. I plan on it now after seeing The Raid though. I want to see everything Evans does. Because he's clearly more than just a martial arts filmmaker. He's a master of mood and rising tension. Of sound and fury. This guy turns action into art.

The Raid is a perfect example of how the simplest and brawniest of story concepts are often the best. This is like REC meets a typical, bare-knuckle Luc Besson joint like District 13. An elite SWAT team storms a highrise apartment building that houses a drug lord and his gang. They fight from the bottom floor to top to get the man in charge. But are they there for the noble reason they think? Queue sequel.

But if you think The Raid is just kicking and punching, think again. The first act is an all out, gun-and-run opus of blood and bullets. It's not until things get close quarters that the fists and feet start flying and machetes start chopping. And the film ratchets up the tension as it moves along at breakneck speed.

There's no question that The Raid is exhausting. You're rarely given a moment to breathe and a few of the showdowns run so long that you'll start to question the characters' ability to sustain such beatings and walk away. But that's the nature of the genre and far be it for Evans to stray too far from the formula he clearly loves.

The Raid hits a martial arts home run. If you're into this type of film you should really see it on the big screen while you have the chance.

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alc0h0l (9 years ago) Reply

I recomend Merantau, it have the same actor of the Raid and the Penkak Silat martial art, i never heard of it till Merantau and it was a nice movie. Now to read that The Raid is a new classic i can see Evans evolving. Cant wait to see The Raid.


Nurma (9 years ago) Reply

Honestly I like Merantau more than The Raid. Merantau has more 'heart', and Iko has more time to show his acting range. Yayan 'Mad Dog' Ruhian is also featured in Merantau and I really like his performance as a torn soul in Merantau. Gareth, Iko and Yayan show their potentials in Merantau although it's their first martial art movie. In The Raid they truly show that they are at the top of their game in term of action sequences.


Antisocialist (9 years ago) Reply

By your description it sounds like
La Horde/The Horde


agentorange (8 years ago) Reply

Update: I finally saw Merantau and I agree with Nurma that it is full of heart. Loved it.

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