Monday, 21 May 2012

Review - The Raid (2011 - Gareth Evans)


Sounds great! Twenty highly trained coppers with big guns fighting their way, floor by floor up to a climatic battle against some drug-crazed drug-lord who happens to be a dab hand at every form of martial art. Cracking! Shame that they lied in the marketing (surprisingly enough). I won't spoil the plot but it does contain the twenty cops stated and a building with thirty floors. But they don't really fight their way to the top despite the implication. It's like some marketing types getting hold of Snow White and giving it the tagline: 7 DWARVES. 1 WOMAN. Okay, it's true but the implied action never happens (not in the Disney one anyway, there may be more specialist versions available).

For me this film committed the most heinous of crimes: I was bored by most of the fights. Possibly due to the twitchy camerawork. Possibly due to the lack of variety. Possibly due to the bland grey look so familiar to 360 FPS players. Possibly due to the lacklustre sound effects that are very similar throughout the film.There are no bone crunching effects like the (admittedly unrealistic, but cinematically great) ones heard in Brotherhood of the Wolf. The only plus point is that you can actually see what is happening rather than the stupid editing techniques used in action films such as Quantum of Solace.

Like everyone, I enjoy a bit of Pencak Silat - the traditional Indonesian martial art used in the film - and initially it is  engaging and exciting, but over time, the fights all felt very samey. What about the use of some props to liven it up a bit? I can only remember one standout moment where a cheeky little drug-baron henchman is thrown off a balcony and lands on a lower balcony snapping his back on a wall in the process. That was the only 'Oof!' moment for me. The rest is a blur of punches and kicks accompanied by pathetic thwacks. 

Are you really bothered about the story? Me neither. It's all about the fights. But rest assured that there are some bog standard betrayals and twists along the way. 

There is one cracking scene very early in the film where the big boss fella dispatches some frightened looking fellows with his piece. When the bullets run out he opts for an alternative method... 

I feel that I've been a tad harsh on The Raid. I think it's all down to pesky expectations. Normally I don't know anything about the films I watch, preferring to shield myself from reviews to go in with an open mind, but with this one I'd noticed some positive comments on Twitter and the tagline made me giddy with anticipation. The trailer is a bit snazzy too. I should know better by now. Some people obviously love it, (I've seen some 10/10 reviews) so it's probably a case of giving it a look and seeing what you think. 

I'd rather watch Police Story though.

If you like this you could also try:
Police Story, Drive, Last Hero in China, Ong Bak.

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