Opinion: “The Raid” (2011)

The Raid is a simple story about a SWAT team that has been sent out to take down the infamous criminal Toma, who’s the owner of an apartment building filled with thugs. After the team has arrived and got into this tenement, they become trapped inside the building and escaping the building seems to be harder than it was to get into…

As you’re able to see of that little description of the story it seems to be fairly simple. Not overly complicated, just straightforward and I liked that. Like I’ve also said in my review for Blood Father and I will say it again: a lot of B-movies reach for the over convoluted story to cover up the fact that theirs is simple or just dumb. In The Raid that’s not the case. There’s no complicated story needed and it’s also not trying to cover up the fact that it’s straightforward. The film knows what it is and it embraces that really hard. But that all doesn’t mean that the story isn’t clever. It’s actually quite clever in the way the story is constructed. It’s constructed like an old 80’s or 90’s videogame, namely that you have to build your way up to the final boss-level while each level starts to get harder and harder.

Joe Taslim and Yayan Ruhian in “The Raid” – 2011

This is an action film as you could’ve guessed, so it’s bound to have fighting sequences, and since this movie is praised specifically for that part, I was expecting quite a lot of this. And, did it surpass my expectations? Absolutely. They were amazing. This movie is worth watching just for the action scenes, something you don’t hear a lot these days. The director obviously loved the martial arts used in the film and he translates that very well to the big screen. Gareth Evans, the director, was also keen on his use of edits as he at times didn’t cut away from the action for a couple of seconds and created these amazing fighting sequences that had a fantastic flow to them. He was also able to keep these scenes easy to follow, also something not a lot of movies do right these days, by having the camera stay steady and don’t cut every second. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie where the stunt work was as good as it is in this one and The Raid deserves all the credit it’s getting for having the best fight choreography. The whole film was practically one big action scene with some intermissions, so it would’ve been, a shame if the action scenes were not as good as they are now.
But those intermissions brought some problems to the table. The film has a pretty fast pace throughout the film, but stops abruptly every time there’s an intermission in which they try to develop characters. I don’t mind that they develop their characters, since I like to see a movie with well-rounded characters that feel like real people, but the problem is that the writing in those scenes just wasn’t that good. They were mostly clichéd, like the opening sequence in which they want us to relate to the main character, but ultimately fail at doing that, because they use a technique that has been done a million times before, which is a real shame. mv5bmtgxodqynty0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjmwmju0nw-_v1_sy1000_cr006761000_al_Throughout the movie thought there are some actions he does whereby we get to know him for a bit, it’s just those moments when the movie abruptly comes to a stop where the problem lays.  There were some interesting subplots going on and one of the character developments, which I won’t spoil, was good.  The acting was pretty good though and they set up the villain nicely with the use of only one scene.  Iko Uwais, who played the protagonist, his acting was really good and because of this he made his character feel more real than the writing itself did. I did like that the characters each had their vulnerabilities to them and that they affected how they fought and not that they were able to shake it off.
Visually the film’s good looking. They manage to capture the gritty feel the place brings with itself by having the cinematography look dirty with the grey focused color grading.

The Raid is definitely worth checking out if you have the time, the characters might not be as good as I hoped, but the action sequences were some of the best that I’ve ever seen, that’s why this one gets a B.

Images via: IMDb

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