BLU: The Raid
Indonesia. Deep inside the slums of a town is an appartment building ran by a fearless crime boss. Many have tried to overtake him but all have failed and those that tried to take him down in his building were never seen again. Now a police SWAT team has received some particularly good intel and is preparing a raid that should get them up to the home of the crime lord up on the 15th floor and get back down with the man in cuffs.
At first, the raid goes well and the cops manage to quickly reach the sixth floor but then things go horribly wrong. The crime lord gets tipped off and through the speakers that are located throughout the building he sends a message to all his tenants: everyone who helps him get rid of these pesky cops will be rewarded with free housing for the rest of their lives…
The Raid is one of the most hyped action movies to come out of Asia of late. It’s fast, it’s violent and it’s a joy to watch. If you like seeing people getting their assess kicked badly that is.
Although the story is of an extremely simplistic nature (it could just as well have served for a videogame ten years ago) the movie never really bores and that’s thanks to its setup. Once the action starts, there are three distinct parts to be found. Act 1 is about people shooting at each other, act 2 has people using whatever weapons they can find – including even a refrigerator! – and when you think you’ve seen it all, act 3 goes berserk on the martial arts and mano-a-mano combat. It’s a rollercoaster ride that has a surprise waiting after each corner!
Also worth noting is that lead actor Iko Uwais manages to nicely carry the movie from one action scene to the next. His combat scenes are really great to watch, but even when he’s not fighting he’s doing a pretty good job. While watching The Raid, I regularly found myself mesmerising about Bruce Lee in his early days. Uwais may not be Bruce Lee yet, but get him some good roles in the US and he might become the next Jet Li or, who knows… Bruce Lee.
All in all, The Raid is one of the most frantic action movies I’ve seen of late and its pure nature of hard and brutal combat makes it stand out of the crowd when compared to the many action blockbusters that rely on enhanced CG effects.
The image lacks detail and is a bit on the dark side, but the director didn’t have all too much budget and was smart to put it where it matters. He shot the film digitally and saved money for sharp CG while the frantic action doesn’t give much opportunity for very detailed shots anyway. So while the movie may not look as great as it could be, it’s decent enough and the release doesn’t contain any compression errors either. The Indonesian DTS-HD soundtrack is great whenever the action kicks in, but is almost dormant in the quiet scenes. Luckily, there aren’t too many of those.