This movie isn’t for the faint of heart or weak stomached; It’s 90 minutes of action, pain and brutality. The premise of The Raid is a little unusual, it’s part kung fu movie crossed with an American cop show, and directed by a Welshman. The setting is a Indonesian housing estate, one of the poorest in the country, and a SWAT team has been dispatched to bring in a notorious drug baron, but, of course, it doesn’t go down as everyone expects. The film has every single cop movie cliché in the book; the naive young rookie, the cop with a pregnant wife, the crooked cop, and a few more that I won’t mention to avoid those pesky spoilers. They’re not hard to guess though! It’s fair to say that the script is a little predictable, but that’s really not what this movie is about. It’s about action. And, damn, there’s a lot of action. The Raid has some of the most exciting fight sequences I’ve seen. I’m by no means a connoisseur of the kung fu genre, but this looks like wild stuff. Some scenes are so intense that you start to feel fatigued by it all. The action scenes avoid the trappings of cutting everything so fast that it becomes a blur, there’s long takes and you can see the effort the actors are putting in. It occasionally looks a bit rough around the edges, you can see a punch missed, or a knife not quite cutting flesh, but I found that quite charming (in the most violent way) as it feels much more real. We’re not submitted to the horrors of CGI moment after CGI moment. It’s an extremely visceral experience. It is a particularly bloody experience too. There’s a lot of extreme violence, and the characters are far from remorseful about it all. You may wish to take a sick bag, one or two moments are intense!
There’s enough pure action and plot twists, predictable or not, to make this a hugely entertaining movie. The fights sometimes go on for too long, the clichés are a constant presence, and there’s almost zero character development, but it’s just a whole lot of fun to watch. It’s destined to be a cult classic. It won’t get the same kind of attention as say an Oldboy or Infernal Affairs achieved, but it’ll have plenty of fans nonetheless.
Marks out of ten – Seven