There's a fighting chance you'll love The Raid
00:42 GMT, 18 May 2012
The Raid (18)
Verdict: Brilliantly choreographed fight club
There is not, to the best of my knowledge, much competition for the title ‘best Indonesian martial arts movie ever made by a Welshman’.
But, if there was, The Raid would see off all comers with a flurry of flying kicks and a selection of gruesomely snapped spines.
Indubitably not for the squeamish, and unburdened by much that could be even loosely described as a plot, director Gareth Evans sticks drug lord and gangster Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and his henchmen at the top of a tower block in the Jakartan slums and a crack team of police hell-bent upon his removal at the bottom.
Heroic: Iko Uwais as Rama in The Raid
There are no prizes for predicting what ensues, but it takes a surprisingly short amount of time for the possibly dodgy police chief Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) to see his force reduced from around 20 to low single figures.
Luckily, rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) is among their number, and his heroic status has been established early by opening shots showing him with a pregnant wife and promising to return safe and sound to her and their unborn son.
I am not qualified to comment with any confidence on Uwais’s ability with the Indonesian martial art of pencak silat, but to my untutored eye he quickly establishes himself as an expert.
And a good thing, too! Every floor of the tenement block is populated by an apparently endless supply of bad guys loyal to Tama, while his key lieutenants Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Adi (Donny Alamsyah) appear to be a match for our boy in the head-cracking stakes.
The Raid is spectacularly and almost continuously violent, possibly unprecedentedly so, and will offend or delight viewers’ sensibilities accordingly.
There is a decent twist, but the film still feels like brilliantly choreographed fight after brilliantly choreographed fight culminating in some of the most unpleasantly imaginative deaths ever seen in a cinema. I absolutely loved it.