Cinema: The Raid
‘…a pulsing, violent film that delivers…’
Very often in modern cinema, there are films that are blatant copies of films gone by. They do not serve to honour the original, simply claiming that their vision is unique and beyond all other tellings. Some simply claim that they are a remake of the original, when in reality, they are little more than a chance by studios to recoup money from a franchise that has gathered dust. With Gareth Evans and THE RAID, he has done something quite unique. He has made a film that is original and different, but at the same time, indicative and honouring of films like it. He has melded the visual aesthetics and sensibilities of 90′s-Japanese cop-thrillers with his own brand of pacing and dialogue to create something totally unlike anything in cinemas today. The result is breathtaking.
The story takes place inside the walls of a Jakaratan apartment complex. Ruled by a tyrannical drug lord, the complex serves as a safe haven for criminals who want to lie low. Such is his reputation that no police dare enter the complex. Until now. A lone SWAT team enters the complex with a single task – take the drug-lord quickly and quietly with minimal losses. In a brilliant scene involving a door and slow-motion, the drug-lord is alerted to their presence and offers the complex’s inhabitants a deal – kill the SWAT team and live in the complex for free. Forever. What begins as a professional raid turns into a deadly siege as the inhabitants of the complex form into a bloodthirsty mob. One by one, the SWAT team is picked off until only a few remain. The film’s plot is, admittedly, simplistic. However, the film does not need to be laced with overcomplicated sub-plots or superfluous characters. There are as many as there needs to be. No more, no less. Likewise, the script itself is unembellished or flowery. The characters of THE RAID are warriors and villains and speak as they should.
Gareth Evans’ direction is nothing short of stunning. The film’s pacing is breakneck and his editing and pacing means that the film rarely loses focus or attention. The film’s ability to put you on knife-edge is almost unbearable. Each scene is intense and brutal, there’s no respite or relief inside the complex. Once the men are locked in, they either have to die or fight their way out. With such a minimal budget, Evans has crafted a bold and violent vision of Jakarta and the people who inhabit it. The film feels authentic and is further elevated by the incredible martial arts work of the film’s main protagonist, Iko Uwais. The film’s action sequences feel incredibly real – when they run out of bullets, they switch to hand-to-hand. Likewise, the martial arts technique they use – Silat – is very common in Indonesia and is practised by the Indonesian police. THE RAID is a pulsing, violent film that absolutely delivers on its promise – 100 minutes of carnage.
DROP-D RATING: 9 / 10