It’s one of those typical films that offer mindless escapism, but The Raid’s inventive well edited and nicely paced action makes up for its flimsy story and characters.
As a rookie member of an elite special-forces team, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to hang back during a covert mission involving the extraction of a brutal crime lord from a rundown fifteen-story apartment block. But when a spotter blows their cover, boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer, gangster, and thief in the building in exchange for their heads. Now Rama must stand in for the team’s fallen leader (Joe Taslim) and use every iota of his fighting strength – winding through every floor and every room to complete the mission and escape with his life. — (C) Sony
The Raid delivers exactly what you expect from an action film with some new ideas. The fight between the tenants and the elite force have interesting scenes, where the slow motion (finally) is used sparingly but effectively. The gun fight winds down to martial arts and the hyperkinetic editing and pacing maximizes every shot. The result is pure entertainment. No wire-fu, just pure hand to hand combat with knives, machetes or just plain fists.
People who are expecting much beyond that, will be disappointed. The Raid is an action film and it offers no excuses. It pauses for a short while to insert in some dialogue and a bit of back story to support the premise. Other than that, it’s pure survival and mayhem.
Every other element in the film besides the action isn’t much. The set pieces are all the same and obviously low-budget. The exposition and characterization are too little too late. The action scenes are contrived.
The film doesn’t have much substance but it’s entertaining. It manages to make the most out of what it has, and won’t disappoint anyone looking for a good action film.