Film review | The Raid – Action movie mayhem from unlikely Welsh-Indonesian duo

Rama (IKO UWAIS) in THE RAID

An elite police team tries to nab a Jakarta drug lord in a dawn assault on a slum tenement that’s packed from top to bottom with thugs and killers in The Raid, an action movie so relentlessly exciting and brutal that watching it will leave you feeling black-and-blue and breathless.

The second screen outing for the unlikely pairing of Welsh director Gareth Huw Evans and Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais (their first, 2009’s Merantau, went straight to DVD over here), The Raid locks the viewer in a vice-like grip right from the start.

Indeed, the police mission has barely got going when crime boss Tama, alert to their presence, locks down the building and launches its ferocious tenants against the invaders. As the cops fall victim to the gun- and machete-wielding attackers who rush out from every corner on every storey, rookie cop Rama (Uwais), separated from a dwindling band of fellow survivors, must battle his way to the top in order to survive.

And battle he does, in a series of bruising, bloody, bone-crunching fight sequences that are brilliantly choreographed and unflinchingly filmed. (They showcase, incidentally, the down-and-dirty Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat practised by Uwais). The action is so unrelenting that there’s no time for character nuances or plot subtleties, but as an exercise in stripped-down, pulse-pounding genre filmmaking The Raid is hard to beat.

On general release from Friday 11th May.

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