Jakarta has a problem. One of their most infamous drug lords has set himself up at the top of an apartment building. Physically and in practice above the law. Many of the local cops are bought off. But even if they weren't his policy of renting rooms to the city's lowlifes guarantees an early warning system and armed/machete swinging response to any and all police incursions. That leaves him feeling pretty comfortable. Too comfortable for the SWAT team sent in to extract him. A team that includes the rookie who leaves home his pregnant wife at the picture's start. Ensuring that he's going to have to beat and shoot his way through many many people to get safely back to her.
This Indonesian action film delivers the goods in a raw, focused style constrained within a single apartment block. The men get in, but not surprisingly trip some of the alarms. What follows is an offer of lifetime free rent to anyone who kills the cops. At which point all hell breaking loose. Meaning some seriously intense violence in all directions as the team must fight their way back out of the building. Did I mention the snipers picking off anyone who ventures near a window? Clearly Mr. Mobster has thought this through. Ain't no one getting out alive.
Things start-up relatively slowly - even after the team realizes things have gone wrong. But there's a moment where they cut an escape channel between floors and jump down. In synch with taking that step through the rabbit hole the film clicks up its intensity to eleven (or maybe twelve). And holds the pedal down for maximum intensity until the film ends. It's easy to say that - but I don't bring that imagery lightly. Director Gareth Evans truly doesn't let off until the gas until the very end.
It's rare that a movie makes me want to shout along with it. But The Raid delivers that sort of emotional "heck yeah" feeling throughout. I wasn't alone - as I watched it with a 2000 person crowd at its SXSW screening at the Paramount Theater everyone responded loudly and appreciatively to the efforts onscreen. I suspect so will you - catch it in a theater, with a riled up crowd if you can. The way it's meant to be seen. And get ready for a wild n entertaining ride.
Oh, and don't fuck with anyone who knows Silat, the martial art used in the film. They will seriously mess you up. The Raid: Redemption is scheduled to open in the Seattle area on March 30th.
By all means - checkout the trailer below. It's not going to ruin anything and will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt if you're the right person for this film. It's not a romantic comedy is what I'm saying.