At Love Horror our love of horror is obviously unquestionable. However that’s not to say we don’t enjoy the odd jaunt into another genre from time to time, and when the non-horror movie in question is The Raid: Redemption, a glorious all action ode to guns, gore and martial arts we’re very glad we made the extra effort.
After receiving its UK premiere at Glasgow’s Frightfest this year and with a terrific trailer and plenty of online buzz, anticipation for The Raid has been off the scale. Luckily all the hype is well earned as quite simply put, The Raid is the best action movie of the year and one of the best to be released in some time.
Blending together balletic blood-filled, bullet battles with some mind crushing martial arts, The Raid serves as a concrete cinematic calling card hurled through Hollywood’s window. This film not only heralds the arrival of its main star Iko Uwais but also the traditional Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat he practises and the Welsh born writer and director Gareth Evans – all of three which are set for big things off the back of this epic actioner.
Playing out like all your favourite beat-em-up’s rolled into one, the plot-line is beautifully basic, as a group of SWAT police are sent to take out a ruthless mob boss who resides in a terrifying tower block filled with his eager goons on every floor.
Nothing goes to plan and as the team is trapped and taken apart it’s up to lone super cop Rama (Iko Uwais) to try and save his comrades. Then he must take down the top bad guy whilst trying to stay alive along the way.
Although this may sound like every other action movie ever made, Gareth Evans crafts a film that is much more than the sum of its simple story. He carefully develops Rama’s character and throws in a few twists and turns along the way.
Uwais is immensely watchable, displaying skills on a par with Tony Jaa. Plus he’s at home with a gun, a blade or his fists and feet all of which we get to see him utilise in wonderfully shot battles.
Uwais and Evans’ set pieces are off the scale, both stylistically and kinetically. With every frame filled with furious fists and deadly knife fights each somehow more impressively choreographed than the last upping the anti at every step.
Pulling no punches or high kicks when it comes to showing pain, the violence is more real and nasty than many horror films. However this only adds to the movie’s power both visually and dramatically with Rama barely surviving several severe smack downs on his way to the final boss battle.
The Raid is everything an action movie should be. It’s as exciting, exhilarating, mind blowing and epically violent.
One can only imagine what the Pencak Silat power pairing of Uwais and Evans will bring to the screen next.
In fact, when a film comes along as brutal and brilliant as The Raid it makes us want to start up a whole new review site in its honour; then again a webpage named LoveAction might not get us the kind of readership we are looking for.