It’s pretty hard to get me excited about an action movie. In fact, I’ve been described by many connoisseurs of this genre as extremely hard to please. So it was to my shock and slight horror that I left the cinema after watching The Raid: Redmption having found a new favourite film of 2012.
Directed by University of Glamorgan graduate Gareth Evans, The Raid follows an elite team of Indonesian SWAT policemen who have been tasked with taking down a villainous druglord encamped in an enormous, impregnable tower block. What seems like a fairly routine job soon turns sinister, when the team become trapped within the tower along with a company of psychopathic (and martial arts proficient) renegades. Cue lots of punching, shooting and slicing.
I’ve previously found films like Marvel Avengers Assemble and Transformers 3 to have so much hitting and exploding that it’s impossible to connect with the characters, but The Raid has no such problem. Yes, the characters spend a tremendous amount of time striking one another, but it’s done with so much glee and such stylish choreography that it continues to be exciting long after the sight of two robots knocking seven bells out of one another would’ve bored the pants off me.
The Raid is a bold new spin on the martial arts action movie. At its heart is the question of trust, both social and fraternal, and that fundamentally sweet core is what raises the film above its contemporaries and into the esteemed pantheon of action movies that didn’t make me want to puke.