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Monday, 6 January 2014

DVD Of The Week: The Raid (2011)

Also known as The Raid: Redemption

A 20-strong unit of police officers launch an attack on a tower block controlled by a ruthless gangster, but end up trapped and surrounded by his army of goons and have to fight their way back out.

The plot of The Raid may sound vaguely familiar and that's because it was ripped off by the lame Dredd movie in 2012 - only The Raid did it first and better.

With such a simple plot, you're going to need a lot of action and thrills to hold a viewer's attention - and this Indonesian film (written and directed by Welshman Gareth Evans, not to be confused with Godzilla director Gareth Edwards) delivers by the brutal bucketload.

There's no hanging around, after a scene introducing the young hero Rama (Iko Uwais), and his expectant wife, we're then in the police van on the way to the tower block and then BAM! it all kicks off.

Quite quickly the good guys get whittled down to a handful of survivors (Evans, himself, describes it as "survival horror" and I can see that analogy), including Rama who, it turns out, has a personal investment in this mission.

And while the gunplay in the first 20-minutes or so is great, it's when things get up close and personal with lightning-fast martial arts that The Raid truly comes into its own. Apparently they are using an Indonesian martial art known as pencak silat. There's no CGI or wire-work, as far as I can tell, just a genuine display of incredible, contemporary martial arts with characters often being heavily outnumbered by multiple opponents.

Looking at The Raid as a gamer - and seeing how easily the plot was transposed into a sci-fi setting by Dredd (not that they really put much effort into sci-fi-ing up the setting) - this could easily be turned into a Dungeons & Dragons-style adventure with a party trapped down in the lower levels of a dungeon and having to fight their way out.

I don't know if The Raid is the greatest action-movie of all-time, but it's certainly high up in the rankings for its sheer, single-minded focus on delivering a near-constant barrage of fists and feet to the face, interwoven with some classy stunts and moments of genuine tension.

And here's the trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal which is due out in March:

6 comments:

  1. Glad you liked it! Apparently, the second film takes place 2 hours after the first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant - I won't wait quite so long before I see the sequel ;-)

      Delete
  2. Good review Tim. Yeah, this movie is pretty awesome. Can't wait to see what they do with the sequel, as I hear it adds on more action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, as you can tell, I enjoyed this film immensely and can't wait for the sequel.

      Delete
  3. I wouldn't say Dredd was lame though! ._.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you read my review of Dredd, linked in the review above or http://heropresstwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/dvd-of-week-dredd-2012.html you'll see I had big problems with Dredd.

      Delete

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