Every once in a while a foreign-language action-thriller arrives without too much fanfare and blows us all away. Judging by early word of mouth, The Raid could be this year's A Prophet or City Of God. If you like your mayhem served with a side order of hand grenades and a bottle of Molotov cocktail, this could be the movie for you.
As the title and these new pics imply, this is not a mild-mannered character study with a lilting score and lots of shots of fluffy animals. There will be blood - and lots of it. The storyline follows a group of Indonesian cops, including rookie Rama (Iko Uwais), on an ill-conceived mission to take down a drug baron in his Jakarta tower block. Unfortunately, the block-cum-fortress is a rabbit warren of nooks and crannies, most filled with blood-thirsty henchmen.
Surprisingly, the Indonesian film is directed by a south Welshman, Gareth Evans. His full-bore actioner is informed by films like Hard Boiled, Die Hard and Assault On Precinct 13, a seriously tasty array of influences.
Aberdare-raised, Evans relocated to his wife's homeland where he stumbled upon his star while making a documentary about the martial art of silat. "When I met Iko Uwais, he was very quiet and shy", the director recalled when Empire talked to him, "but when he did that silat thing, he transformed. I said, 'Quit and come work with us'."
Get hold of the current issue of Empire for more on The Raid. It's out this spring. Prepare to duck.