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MovieMeditation presents...
total movie count ........... viewing day count
261 .......................... 299


October 27th

—— 2011 ——
—— action ——

One ruthless crime lord, twenty elite cops, thirty floors of hell...
(...but there is actually fourteen)

'The Raid' takes no hostages and gets straight to business with bone breaks and bad ass attitudes, in this adrenaline-fueled non-stop crime-cop Indonesian action movie, directed by Welshman, Gareth Evans. The story is straight-forward and stripped down to the most bareboned excuse for a martial arts medley, but the so-called plot does a decent enough job of elevating every action element to the uppermost level – or the uppermost floor in this case. As an audience, we get a short subjective introduction to who we are going to follow for the majority of the film, Rama, then quickly cut to him and the rest of the special tactics team, getting ready to raid the fourteen-floor building and eventually take out the towering boss of it all, Tama Riyadi, who is controlling everything from the top floor…

It is certainly a simple plot but surely a not-so-simple mission, as the tactic team plays a lethal tag game on a silence to kill basis, where they slowly but surely move their way upwards, hopefully unharmed and unnoticed. But unfortunately some very unlucky circumstances occur, leading to unfortunate judgments, which then leads to the sound of the alarm and our heroic team rapidly goes from being the capturers to the captured. A huge chunk of the team is terminated to the rain of machine gun bullets and from this point on, the point and shoot scenario is pretty much over and done with and the point of a plot goes with it. Now it is all about the martial arts ballet rather than the machine-ammo-bullets and our heroes must fight their way to the top in the most brutally beautiful way imaginable.

The camera work in this film is wonderful and extremely elegant for such an elevated level of lunacy and everlasting action. Pretty much every action beat and every heartbeat of our main characters is captured correctly and carefully, so that we feel the action instead of having our reaction time fumble with the fact that quick cuts and shaky cam just can't cut it quite the same. Gareth Evans knows how to slice and dice and spice things up just the right amount and despite of the one-way whirlwind of action it is the most diverse “monotone action movie” I have seen. The story and characters could use more angles, but the camera almost makes up for it with all the angles that it captures in place of the story. 'The Raid' is an extremely violent film, but the martial arts elegancy brings beauty to the brutality and adds lightness and ease to the tough-to-watch weight of the violence. The film goes full throttle for most of its runtime and comes perfectly to a climax of carefully choreographed hand-to-hand-to-head-to-knee-to-foot combat with the choreographer himself, who is playing the role of Mad Dog.

I must admit that when I'm done being absolutely astonished by the amazing fight sequences, I do find myself wishing for more weight to the plot, especially in terms of emotional involvement. But even with that said, the relationship of the brothers as well as the brilliantly tense apartment break-in slash hiding slash slight slashing of the face does confirm the fact that this director knows how to film tension without the tempo, tentatively, and tell a story without the plot, per say. I actually did care for the brothers and their relationship and especially the main character, Rama, had great "chemistry with the camera" and great balance between the amazing but atypical action hero and the everyday unlucky individual. ‘The Raid’ is a ride any action-freak out there should watch, especially if you are a fan of the martial arts approach. It is very entertaining and might not floor you with sentimental sugarcoating like your typical drama, but with the fourteen floors this film has to work with, you are in for a wild rollercoaster ride that will make your body feel sore despite of sitting down through the entire movie…