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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Iko Uwais
Ananda George
Ray Sahetapy.
Directors
Gareth Evans.
Screenwriters
Gareth Evans.
Running Time
100 minutes

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The Raid
Die Hard Boiled


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Plot
Ruling Jakarta’s megaslum from a high-rise fortress, drug baron Tama (Sahetapy) is preparing to entertain some unwelcome visitors. Enter the city SWAT team, including rookie copper Rama (Uwais), armed, ready to climb, unaware that a trap’s already been set...


Review
The Raid
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Critic screenings can be a weird, airless place to eat up a movie. For those who’ve never ‘entered the vacuum’, they’re a bit like taking an entertainment exam — guarded, concentrated, lots of pen-chewing and a firm, unspoken etiquette of silence. Most screenings, you could hear a spider fart in a film can. Pringles go off like grenades. At The Raid, however, decorum fell out the window. Everyone, eventually, contributed their own part to the soundtrack. Aghs. Oofs. Ows. Farks. There might have even been an “eep” from one of the broadsheets. This didn’t happen during The Expendables.

Hot off the festival circuit, the buzz on this one is well-earned and genuine. It’s been a while, but here’s an unabashed, unironic Friday-night movie — a noisy, bloodlusting crowdpleaser that’s like a kickback to the grindhouse. Other than hailing from Indonesia, there’s nothing new about The Raid — in fact, with its henchmen, Big Bads and AK-47s, it’s stubbornly retrograde. The dialogue’s been cut-and-pasted from Action Movie Pass Notes (“We go in, we take him out”; “Not without my team”, and, that classic understatement, “We have company”). The villain is dial-a-drug-baron. And yet, between an unknown Indonesian and a man from Merthyr Tydfil, The Raid’s accomplished what all action movies promise but few achieve — it makes you gasp. And, in some cases, eep.

It’s certainly a stylistic wake-up call for Hollywood’s default battle mode. Rapid cuts and shaky cams might give you the sense of being inside a brawl, but it’s wearing numb. Here, the combat is shot long, wide, often from an insane angle, frequently one take. It’s not remotely suggestive — just breathlessly visceral. There will be few more thrilling sights this year than watching Iko Uwais domino a bunch of superbads down a corridor. With the possible exception of watching Iko Uwais dive out a window, fall three storeys and land on a fire escape — still fighting the same guy.

Surprisingly, for a nation with such a loaded martial arts heritage, you can count the number of Indonesian action stars on one fist. Its last big bruiser, the mighty Barry Prima, flaunted his exotic hair during the ’80s, pounding rubber crocodiles in a series of daft fantasy lemons. Prima, an Indonesian icon, trained in taekwondo — a Korean martial art. Uwais, The Raid’s primary weapon, was raised on his native pencak silat, rarely seen and, it turns out, fearsomely cinematic — quick as kung fu but blunter, weapon-ready and not shy of using its environment. Even the set joins in the fights. Tables. Fridges. Ovens... No CG. This never gets boring.

Of course, we’ve been here before, with Ong-Bak and the coming of Tony Jaa — Uwais’ advantage is the film matches him move for move. Director Gareth Evans has pulled off something of a coup here, tempering the cartoon hysteria of Asian action cinema with a slicker, colder Western sensibility. The primitive invasion plot has just enough twists and character flips to keep you emotionally enagaged. More importantly, they double up as perfectly placed recovery points. You’ll welcome the breathers. Ultimately, it’s The Raid’s skill at reading an audience’s heart-rate that makes it such an exhilarating rush. Things become a bit of a bludgeon during a climactic fight with main hench Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) — it’s at least 51 kicks and 135 punches too long, but, in the words of Nigel Tufnel, that’s just nit-picking isn’t it?

With its pulsing synths and underlit sets, The Raid feels like a mean John Carpenter film — Assault On Slum 13 with added machetes. There are few laughs. Just breakneck action and electric menace. Be sure to stay for the end credits, which tell their own story — a full army of massage therapists and the debris of a hundred bruised extras. Floor Hole Attacker No. 4, we feel your pain.


Verdict
Remember your first time with Hard Boiled? Die Hard? This is how it’s done — a clean, hard, constant hit of adrenalin. If it’s not the best action movie of the year, we’ll eat a fridge.


Reviewed by Simon Crook

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Raid
Empire Star Rating

RE: No way a 5 star movie

Saw it this afternoon. I was expecting to enjoy it, no dloubt, but a five star movie, with virtually no plot to it; as if. BOY was I wrong. The plot didn't matter, I had the most entertaining 100 minutes I have had at the cinema in years. Surely the greatest action film of all time, surely. ... More

Posted by nhassell at 21:06, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: jonson I didn't take that as being honourable, I took that as the fact he loved beating people to death. It was what he was good at and took sadistic pleasure out of doing it. That's nasty in my book ote] Okay then, how about honourably nasty? ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 20:32, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: Rgirvan44 Thinking about the film and the "lack of depth" that has been levelled at it - I think one of the subtexts that does exist is male family relationships. Fathers and sons (both real and otherwise) and the competing loyalities contained within. tly it is about punching, kicking, stabbing and shooting./quote] This totally needs to be a poster quote. ... More

Posted by Darth Marenghi at 20:01, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

The Raid n_smile_pistols.gif] = MEy.gif]py07.gif] ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 17:09, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: clownfoot L: jonson I didn't take that as being honourable, I took that as the fact he loved beating people to death. It was what he was good at and took sadistic pleasure out of doing it. That's nasty in my book ote] It doesn't sound quite the same as big-bad-blokey from Hard Boiled allowing for all the hospital patients to move out of the way before continuing his gunfight against Alan. That's honourable. do think Mad Dog did have a code - but maybe one that didn'... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 16:29, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: Cool Breeze Watched Hard Boiled last night for the first time in quite a while and still love it to bits.The Raid is nowhere near as much fun as that film.If Evans make a sequel he hink of including some humour and memorable characters.It makes an action movie go a long way.] And the flipside of that is that too much humour or snappy one liners can kill any suspense in an action film stone dead. I really don't think The Raid needed humour, but I'm sure the US remake will igno... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 16:27, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

Watched Hard Boiled last night for the first time in quite a while and still love it to bits.The Raid is nowhere near as much fun as that film.If Evans make a sequel he might think of including some humour and memorable characters.It makes an action movie go a long way. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 16:18, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: jonson I didn't take that as being honourable, I took that as the fact he loved beating people to death. It was what he was good at and took sadistic pleasure out of doing it. That's nasty in my book ote] It doesn't sound quite the same as big-bad-blokey from Hard Boiled allowing for all the hospital patients to move out of the way before continuing his gunfight against Alan. That's honourable. ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 14:20, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: Rgirvan44 Well they are making that comparison - the film itself isn't. It isn't like all those Die Hard knock offs for example. Although I do think it is a classic in the making, I also don't think it will tap into pop culture the same way Die Hard and Hard Boiled did. But that is ok. Needless to say I can't wait to see what Evans does next - I am sure we can all agree he shoots action really well. agree, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I wasn't trying to compare th... More

Posted by jonson at 14:02, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


Gripped

Saw it last night - got to say its one of the best movies I've ever seen. Two deaths in particular were incredibly wince inducing (death by door and the stairwell wrap around). The actor and director are going to be huge stars - I hope. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mateyboy2 at 12:23, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

Just to clarify, my disappointment in this film doesn't come from it not being like Die Hard. I mentioned the latter film in my review only because it was raised in the Empire review. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 12:19, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: jonson Sad Dog (again, an immense performance - his fighting skills and general nastiness were the highlight for me) astiness? Hmm... See for me whilst he is totally badass, he's also an honourable one (hence the fact he doesn't just shoot the sergeant in the head & he frees the brother being tortured to take on the pair of them hand to hand simultaneously). Watched it again yesterday. The Die Hard / Hard Boiled comparisons are unfair, but it's cracking! Best fun I've h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 11:41, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

Well they are making that comparison - the film itself isn't. It isn't like all those Die Hard knock offs for example. Although I do think it is a classic in the making, I also don't think it will tap into pop culture the same way Die Hard and Hard Boiled did. But that is ok. Needless to say I can't wait to see what Evans does next - I am sure we can all agree he shoots action really well. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 09:39, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: Rgirvan44 L: jonson Saw this last night. Certainly not a 5 star film, and nowhere near Die Hard or Hard Boiled, the comparisons are almost embarassing to be honest, but really great fun and brutal, very brutal. As has been stated above, I was glad the fighting wasn't just centred around Rama, it shared it out very well and the final 3-way battle with Mad Dog (again, an immense performance - his fighting skills and general nastiness were the highlight for me) and his mate... More

Posted by UTB at 09:33, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

L: jonson Saw this last night. Certainly not a 5 star film, and nowhere near Die Hard or Hard Boiled, the comparisons are almost embarassing to be honest, but really great fun and brutal, very brutal. As has been stated above, I was glad the fighting wasn't just centred around Rama, it shared it out very well and the final 3-way battle with Mad Dog (again, an immense performance - his fighting skills and general nastiness were the highlight for me) and his mate Andi was really well ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 09:28, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

Saw this last night. Certainly not a 5 star film, and nowhere near Die Hard or Hard Boiled, the comparisons are almost embarassing to be honest, but really great fun and brutal, very brutal. As has been stated above, I was glad the fighting wasn't just centred around Rama, it shared it out very well and the final 3-way battle with Mad Dog (again, an immense performance - his fighting skills and general nastiness were the highlight for me) and his mate Andi was really well done, and - despite... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 08:00, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No way a 5 star movie

Saw it tonight, was surprised the Newcastle Under Lyme VUE were actually playing it. I really enjoyed it, as a martial arts flick I'd say I enjoyed it as much of Ong Bak, though the choreography was far more brutal. It perhaps wasn't the action movie everyone was talking about, but the premise was simple and effective, the hero was virtuous yet still capable of showing humanity, and the villains were well played. I think my biggest criticism is that it was clearly sequel baiting, and perh... More

Posted by thepluginbaby at 01:11, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


No way a 5 star movie

Three and a bit at best. For Empire to compare to Die Hard (with a great central character and blend of humour) is wrong. This is a tense and action packed film but sorry, not a classic. Best in group action, some one on one fight scenes actually got boring - five minutes of orgasmic grunting and elbows to the face but little more than just action, it needed something else in there too - but didn't. Quite amused that the trailers want you to not realise it is subtitled and maybe even think i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 00:28, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

L: Cool Breeze I think this is one of those rare times that a remake would be a good thing.Get Evans a decent budget and stunt team,and Shane Black to write the script and then wed be on to something. orry to be blunt, Cool Breeze but you're talking shite, mate. Not about not liking the film as much as others, that's fine, but just the stuff about the remake. I saw this today and, while I don't think it's a 5 star instant classic, I did have a lot of fun with it. I think it's perfect... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 20:17, 23 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

I did enjoy it. The fighting was terrific, the pace was relentless and the film avoided many Hollywood cliches. But I woudnt't say it's as good as the hype. There wasn't enough variety in the fights for me and some of the camerawork was awful the film either had two directors or two cameramen], and made me feel sick. Still good stuff though. A US remake won't be nearly as good, except maybe in the acting. I'd give it a solid 8. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 18:50, 23 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

L: Cool Breeze I think this is one of those rare times that a remake would be a good thing.Get Evans a decent budget and stunt team,and Shane Black to write the script and then wed be on to something. espite the fact that the stunts and low budget are exactly what makes this film so great. The last thing we need is another expensive Hollywood remake of a foreign classic just to please dumb audiences who cant/wont read subtitles. ... More

Posted by Spaldron at 13:44, 22 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

L: Cool Breeze I think this is one of those rare times that a remake would be a good thing.Get Evans a decent budget and stunt team,and Shane Black to write the script and then wed be on to something. sp; Honestly if the biggest complaint you have is that it isn't Die Hard, I think the movie is doing alright. Surely we should welcome action movies of all different shapes and sizes? What worked for some films, won't for others. The Raid is designed to be lean, mean fighting machine. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 12:52, 22 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

I think this is one of those rare times that a remake would be a good thing.Get Evans a decent budget and stunt team,and Shane Black to write the script and then wed be on to something. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 12:16, 22 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Awesome

Slight plot & characterisation, yet that really doesn't matter as they're facilitated purely for some breath-taking violence to occur that whilst gruesome, is never sadistic. A genuinely exciting experience that's brilliantly choreographed & directed, contains some proper badass antagonists (Mad Dog) and is far & away the best action film of 2012 so far. Immensely unhappy to hear it's getting the American remake treatment though. b]4/5 ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 08:10, 22 May 2012 | Report This Post


Awesome

I loved every minute. I think this review is spot on. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 22:55, 21 May 2012 | Report This Post


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