I am literally just back from the cinema from watching “The Raid“, just released in the UK. Wow.
I’ve seen a lot of martial arts / action movies. Some old, some new, some classic, some total garbage. There are some of which I have sung endless praises and held up as examples of how heart-pumping action should be done; “Ong Bak” springs to mind, for example.
“The Raid” has eclipsed them all.
It’s not just because the action and choreography is visceral, fluid and all-too believable either. It’s because the director knows when to pause and build tension. He let’s it build, build, build, then it explodes with a ferocity I’ve seldom seen on screen. Then we pause again to catch our breath before the next wave.
The plot is non-existent, the characters are forgettable, and none of that matters. Instead it’s a kaleidoscope of stylish violence, set to an appropriate (and well-produced) soundtrack that knows exactly when to shut up for tension’s sake. It’s a film where less is more, and more is more.
Speaking of sound, the film actually made sparing and interesting use of surround sound. I urge you to see this in the cinema, but prepare to squirm in your seat, to wince and briefly look away from the scene. Then, at the end of it all, you’ll leave the cinema breathless, exhausted and damn well satisfied.
Top marks, Mr Director. More please.