Usually, there’s a formula, in typical Hollywood action movies. The heroes will walk (without afraid of being shot!) through a gate, in slow motion stares directly at you.They will be wearing heavy armor outfit, with their shining muscles, and carrying an array of huge automatic guns and ammo – ready to start some chaos.
To get your adrenaline pumped, their arsenals are usually these: sculpted bodies, loud boom, fast and then super slow motion fest, huge explosion, flashy expensive CGI and don’t forget; throw in a damsel in distress, with a tight and revealing outfit.
The formula is getting boring, but thankfully – you’ll find none of that in The Raid.
First, let me be clear. If you’re looking for a complex plot, or expansive characterization, you’ll be disappointed. The plot is kept to a minimal, and characters development is just a bit, but enough to make you care about the hero and his gang – that they will be faced with ruthless & remorseless criminals.
The title has explained enough. Just a group of elite cops led by their field commander Jaka (Joe Taslim), going into a building full of criminals (not all of them, some were the hesitant aider) trying to catch a certain kingpin named Tama (Ray Sahetapy).
Our hero is Rama (Iko Uwais), a rookie cop. A reluctant hero if I may call it. And he’s one of the elite cops. Don’t let his morning prayer in the opening scenes fool you. At first, it was like a smooth operation, after sneaking a few floors later. They were spotted, and in seconds, the real thing was on. Tama send his angry henchmen, and Rama’s comrades started to fall one by one. And from here on, it’s only a fight to survive. Kill or to be killed.
You’ll witness a barrage of fists, punches, kicks, knives and bullets flying, almost nonstop – most of them happened in small contained place or in a narrow alley (which subliminally add more thrill). A couple moments of dialogue was added, and I was beginning to think that, some non-fighting scenes were put there, just to give you a bit space to breath. It was THAT fucking intense.
The actions run naturally to its course. You shoot your way up. Bullets fly, until the ammo run out. Then switch to knives and baton, fizzed stabbing various body parts. What happened when the knives were gone? It’s body parts. Punches, knees, kicks, chokes and throws. Name your body parts, it’s there. Mano o mano between Jaka and Mad Dog (Yahan Ruhian) is one of the examples. It’s pandemonium.
Along with the camera work, the fighting choreography which was designed by Ruhian & Uwais, is simply brilliant. See that I mentioned small spaces earlier? You get almost room for fancy opening stances. The fights were fast, fluid, efficient and deadly, but still very much believable. I lost count on how many times I gritted my teeth during these fights.
It’s certainly different from Merantau, where the characters were more balanced & developed. A certain plot twist is added, supposedly to add more spice. Some may complain about it, due its small portion. But it shouldn’t take away the credit from this excellent martial arts movie. It’s one violent movie for sure. And has brought the bar, of how action movies should be, higher. Credit to the director, Gareth Evans, you have my enormous appreciation for making this film.
Take my advice. Don’t take kids or toddlers, don’t forget to breath. And enjoy this kick ass gore fest!
When the DVD is released, I hope they will include the first original soundtracks. Mike Shinoda done very well, but I heard the original was also pretty cool.