The Raid is about the fight sequences and little else. This isn’t a huge, dramatic tale with many twists and turns which will keep the audience guessing from start to finish. It is a demonstration of different actors abilities within both martial arts and stunt sequences. For many films, this would be a huge, shallow experience that doesn’t leave the audience with much to access but with The Raid, what we get is so exciting and so well executed that you can’t help but keep watching.
That is because Iko Uwais is so skilled at martial arts that it is engrossing with every kick, leap and punch. He takes out corridors full of people or under-goes one-on-one bloody battles that are as much about the blocks and evasions as it is about the bone-crunching contact. We have seen martial arts before and this won’t be anything new to fans of the genre but I’m still amazed about how quick, complicated and deadly some of the moves can be.
The other success of the movie is the direction. Gareth Evans probably had little input in the fight sequences but I’m sure he put forward the different locations, set-pieces and characters which Uwias’ Rama would have to battle. From a sequence in a kitchen, involving knives and other utensils to an ingenious use of a fridge, there is a great use of imagination and skill in the direction of the movie.
It needs these exciting set-pieces and pitch perfect martial arts sequences because there is little else that The Raid offers. It is a movie about an action hero getting from the bottom of the building to the top, battling as he goes. It’s an against the odds action movie, much like you’d expect from Die Hard with much the same story.
The characters are decent enough but hardly offer much new. The big bad guy is hardly the most charismatic and its down to his two henchmen to up the ante and offer some interesting threat to our hero. In fact, it’s their huge battle at the end, as bloody, nasty and intense as it gets, that raises the final act of the movie.
There will be moments when the constant fighting, shooting and martial arts gets tiring and because of the limited environment, it offers little that is new. Corridor sequences or close combat battles get a little bit tedious on the third or fourth run round. There are attempts to offer something slightly different and more tense in places but these last for a fleeting amount of time.
These are smaller complaints for a movie that is never less than entertaining and in some cases is brilliantly thrilling. The martial arts and huge stunt sequences make up for the more stunted story elements and closed environment.
Overall, The Raid is a demonstration in how to complete a thrilling action movie. The martial arts is perfect and will impress even the most expert in the genre. The stunts are intelligent and inventive, making good use of everyday objects. The environment offers very little that is new and the story is quite simple but when the action is this good, it just about manages to get by.
Rating – 4
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