Richard Mitchell looks back at one of the more surprising successes in recent cinema.
It was originally my intention to retrospectively review Terry Gilliam’s classic science-fiction 12 Monkeys this week, malady but after the painfully disappointing experience of revisiting Commando for the previous retrospective I felt I had to reaffirm my love of action as a genre, cialis lest it be forever tainted by subpar Schwarzenegger flicks. And so this week I re-watched The Raid.
Ultimately, sovaldi sale Commando bored me because it is impossible to believe that the main character could have lost. In The Raid it’s almost impossible to believe that the main character could have won. Set in a crumbling apartment block in a Jakarta slum, the film follows a squad of heavily-armed police officers as they attempt to fight their way to the top of the building in order to arrest the crime boss that runs the place as his own private kingdom. The only things standing in their way are the psychopathic occupants who will all get free reign to stay in the building as long as they like if they kill one of the cops. Eventually there is only one officer left standing, Iko Uwais’ Rama. This is when the film transforms from procedural SWAT drama into the single most brutal, kinetic and gleefully violent action film since the days of Bruce Lee.
Uwais is a force of nature; discovered by director Gareth Evans whilst still in training in his native Indonesia, his incredible fighting style of Silat which specializes in full body contact is thrilling to watch in action and is used to great effect in a series of complex fight sequences where he takes on corridors full of killers with his bare hands. It’s the trope of the one-man army on show again but here every fight feels hard-fought; this is not a man breezing through faceless grunts, this is a man whose every step feels like it will be his last. The film is driven by this desperate energy, its few characters running on pure survival instinct and doing whatever it takes to make it to safety.
Surprisingly, the screenplay even manages to build a pretty fun little plot around the various set pieces that manages to elevate the action above just punch-ups. But such punch-ups! This is one of the few films you will wince at when you watch. Watch it on Netflix today and prepare to meet Iko Uwais, action cinema’s next superstar.