Already one of the most hotly talked about films of the year, 'The Raid' may well go down as a cult action movie in years to come. Combining the likes of 'Die Hard', Attack The Block and John Woo's finest efforts, 'The Raid' isn't quite the sum of influences.
Considering 'The Raid' ('Serbuan Maut') is very much an Indonesia production, it is surprising that this is in fact a feature from Welsh writer-director Gareth Evans. Similarly surprising is the appearance of Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, composer of the film's soundtrack. Both aspects may be somewhat out of the leftfield but prove somewhat successful, particularly Shinoda's pulsating efforts, which adds to the thrills of the action.
'The Raid' centres around a police siege of an apartment block, which houses Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy), Jakarta's foremost gangster and druglord, along with his various murderous associates. Our main protagonist is Rama (Iko Uwais), an officer of rare integrity and also an expectant father. Yet he holds his own secrets. Soon, the alarm is raised and Rama and the rest of the SWAT team find themselves trapped in the block, and the only way to get out is find Tama.
The film showcases brutal set-pieces, often inspired by the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat, with visceral effects. These back-breaking, neck-crunching moments are very much the highlights of 'The Raid', well-(s)paced throughout the film. Unfortunately, there is comparatively little going on in terms of the characters, and the more the death toll racks up, the less I end up caring. The film also ends in something of a damb squib, perhaps as a result of Evans saving plot points for his planned sequel(s).
'The Raid' thrills with its gory action set-pieces but falls short on the storytelling, rather nullifying any interest in the outcome of the excellently choreographed fight scenes. An English language remake deal is already in place, and with Evans serving as producer, this is one remake that I'm actually looking forward to.
'The Raid' is out in UK cinemas on Momentum Pictures tomorrow, Friday 18th May.