If it's crap ... We'll tell you
A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.
Alright, I was amped up to see this movie and it did not disappoint. Now, it's like 80% action and that's definitely what's important here, but story's listed first, so story's what I'll talk about. This one slum in Jakarta is just full of all of the worst criminals and reprobates there are. It's run by a druglord Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and his two right hand men Andi (Ray Sahetapy) the smart one, and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) the one who's named Mad Dog. Not even the police dare to set foot there, and now a SWAT team is in place to raid the building and capture Tama. At the last minute the Sergeant adds on an extra squad of rookies including out hero Rama (Iko Uwais, from Merantau.) Unfortunately for everyone involved, Tama knows they're coming and lets them get inside just far enough so that there's no hope in getting out alive.
The plot is simple, absolutely, but they still manage to include enough little twists and character development to keep the plot a cut above what you'd expect. It's not as cookie cutter as it could've been, and they take the storyline in a really interesting direction, especially near the end. I really don't want to spoil anything, but I was impressed with some of the subtlety in the character interactions. There really wasn't a point where someone does something that doesn't make sense that you have to throw down the "suspension of disbelief" card... and considering the way Merantau played out, that's a pretty huge improvement.
Merantau had decent action, and a couple incredible stunts, but it really felt like it was trying too hard to be a Tony Jaa movie and not really letting itself carve it's own identity for the star and director. But one thing it did have was potential. The Raid absolutely fulfills that potential. It has a story that is easily better than the best Tony Jaa movie, and action that stands on it's own. The fights are all brutal and the stunts are jaw-dropping. And these aren't fights with a lot of flair-- like useless flips and lots of spinning-- no these are fights like people who really want kill each other. And what's more is that most of them are in these cramped little hallways with nowhere to run. People are constantly getting their heads smashed into the floor or thrown into a wall. And they don't focus primarily on one martial art style like Merantau did with Silat. It's just whatever you can throw at someone to win in a fight, including a well placed sleeper-hold if that's what it's going to take.
I really have nothing negative to say about this movie. It was an interesting little story and a ton of some of the best fighting I've seen all year. See it in the theaters if you can. It's totally worth it!
Upcoming requests include Lone Wolf and Cub Series, Beast Cops, Seven Swords, Battle of Wits, Breaking News, Tae Guk GI, and Assembly