Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Raid

The Raid
Writer/Director: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy

Not only is The Raid one of my favorite films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it's also one of my favorite action movies of all time. I hope you understand that I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that. This film has pretty much everything I want to see in an action movie. If you've listened to the Die Hard episode of The Not Just New Movies Podcast, you know how much I love how that film uses a singular location as a character, with the geography of Nakatomi Plaza being an integral element into our understanding of John McClane's actions throughout the film. The same goes for The Raid, with a singular building hosting all of the crazed action that happens and simultaneously providing the audience with a visual marker of how high our heroes must climb to accomplish their mission.

Gareth Evans utilizes a lot of hand-held camera to bring us into the action, much in the same way Jose Padilla did with Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. There are a lot of similarities with that film, actually, but this one is far more impressive to me because of the hand-to-hand factor that dominates the action. There's a 2-on-1 fight sequence in The Raid that I'd put up against any Tony Jaa film in a battle for supreme badassery, and as much as I love Jaa's work, I think The Raid would come out on top. I had a chance to interview the director at Sundance, and he talked about the challenges of making the movie and hinted at its upcoming sequel, so be sure to check that out if you're interested.

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