Duration: 101 mins
Poetry; Oldboy; I Saw The Devil; Confessions; all critically acclaimed films from Asia (South Korea and Japan, respectively) reveal the largely untapped, high-quality available on import, and whilst the aforementioned have received critical praise, they've seldom managed to penetrate the British market; losing out to mainstream success of western counterparts.
2012 sees Indonesian cinema enter the multiplex more prominently, as Welsh-born Gareth Evans helms this hotly tipped actioner that's already succumbed to enormous hype prior to release. The Raid doesn't tick every box, but in regards to thrill, action and adrenaline rush, it does so in an accomplished manner -- Evans has crafted one of the most exhilarating and pulsating genre flicks of recent times. With Iko Uwais as his lead (a talent he's worked with before on sophomore film Merantau), The Raid sustains continual engagement with the deeper elements left undeveloped such as character and plot.
Such oversights are forgivable in an exhibition of clinical fight scene after fight scene, as each one continues to raise the bar from the previous in both spectacle and tension. However, after we're privy to the initial intensity of shootouts and fistycuffs, the rest follow suit in formulaic fashion without deriving from their sole purpose to thrill with the explosive nature of martial arts -- especially when it's done this well.
Well-paced, choreographed stunts bare the core of its incomplex storyline with some bone-crunching battles; it's fair to proclaim the Evans/Uwais combo works a treat, and all without the requirement of a gimmicky 3D conversion, too.