Wednesday, April 4, 2012

THE RAID Review- He Said/She Said

Directed by Gareth Evans
Written by Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Donny Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy, Yayan Ruhian, and Pierre Gruno
Synopsis: A swat team must take over a building of a notorious crime lord. 

Jonesy: Well there are next to no women in this movie, WTF?!!? Just kidding. After the film, I felt like I had been beaten up, dragged through the mud, and needed a massage.

Javi: Like I said on Twitter, this movie was like hardcore sex where you just NEED a cigarette afterwards (#heyladies). It was nonstop, and I really liked that. I will compare it to another really hyped up movie, ATTACK THE BLOCK, where it just starts with action and never lets up.

Jonesy: And surprisingly the beginning action scenes were kind of boring in comparison to the rest of the movie.

Javi: The tedious beginning pace before getting to the good stuff was a problem. You had to go through 20-30 minutes of standard shoot-em-up scenes. It felt like you were almost watching two different movies. One, just a standard action movie, and the other was a badass martial arts.

Jonesy: What bothered me personally, was the fact that it felt like we just dropped in the middle of a story that was already going on.

Javi: Oh there's very little story.

Jonesy: When two characters are talking towards the end of the film, you got a feeling that there was something that the movie was trying to say about police politics and mafia connections that all of that lead up to the actual raid.

Javi: It really felt like I was watching ELITE SQUAD 2. There was very little story back story, next to no character development, and the only reason you have stake in the main character is because you see him kissing a his pregnant wife at the beginning of the film.

Jonesy: Well, you have to have a protagonist.

Javi: Oh I know, but  it was a very quick way of establishing it. And maybe since this is a very no nonsense type of movie, it worked, but especially when you want to have audiences worry for a character you have establish a connection.

Jonesy: To be fair if you don't establish characters then you don't have to keep a list of characters in your head.

Javi: I think that the worst part of the movie was the fact that it stuck to action movie beats, but at the same time the presentation of them is amazing.

Jonesy: This was probably the most creative fighting I've ever seen. And then the practical stunts the actors performed were just unbelievable. I don't know how they got up after every take to do it again.

Javi: What if it was only one take?

Jonesy: Then it would be even more awesome! And I STILL don't know how they would have gotten up after that one take.

Javi: One of my favorite parts of the movie was the build up tho the titular raid. I was so stressed out by it.

Jonesy: I really enjoyed how well this movie was shot. I never once felt lost like I didn't know where everything was. Any time they were in the hallways, I noticed the room numbers, so I knew what floor they were on. And I felt I also knew the layout of the building. The action was very straight forward and there was an "arc" to each fight, even with 20 plus people in a fight . It felt very fluid and practical. Obviously, my favorite fights involved Mad Dog (main henchman).

Javi: Speaking of, I know this is a weird compliment, but I really enjoyed how all of the villains of the movie were just regular dudes. There wasn't anything flashy about them. I mean Mad Dog is just wearing a cut up t-shirt and pants. The other main crony was just long sleeve shirts and jeans. I don't know what it was about just seeing a bunch of dudes that look like they're chilling at home who just happen to be insane fighters.

Jonesy: Also, I saw the best use of a fridge and door frame ever. I do agree that the tension made me believe that not even the main character was safe (unless you count the fact that there will be sequels), and suspense for the movie is palpable and perfect. Plus, you're just excited to see what sort of crazy stuff they're going to do next.

Javi: And I know I mentioned this before, and only like three people are going to get this (super nerd alert), but I remember in the Transformers comic, THE LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS, so much substance and tension in the scenes leading up to the raid.  There was a scene in the second issue all of the Wreckers where all the guys, especially the rookies, are psyching themselves up to feel more confident. In this film, there's a similar scene where the main guy is training and establishes the tense mood. You can feel that he realizes he may not come home to his wife. But when it comes down to it, you're watching this movie for the fight scenes. And in a way, if you wanted to troll, you could be reductive and say that this is just like a Michael Bay movie where you only watch it for the action. I don't agree with that, because unlike Michael Bay movies, this action and the story line makes sense. What makes me appreciate the hell out of this movie is all of the care and attention that went into the fight scenes. I was listening to Reject Radio, and director Gareth Evans was talking about the different logistics of having someone fight while carrying someone else on their shoulders as oppose to fighting with a hurt leg, or the limited range of motion you could have if your arm was hurt.

Jonesy: I can't imagine choreographing all those fights because all of them felt like they had their own unique  style.

Javi: You had guys with machetes, who fight differently than the guys that have knives, than the guys with guns, and the ones that have nothing.  Thing is, even with all this praise, I still have a few issues with THE RAID. I really feel you can't say, "Oh best action movie ever," and not take into account the lack of real story or characters that are thinly developed and are action movie cliches. But this is a freaking amazing experience especially with a packed audience, and it must be seen.

Jonesy: My audience seem really be into the fight scenes they would clap and groan during certain intense scenes. I recommend this movie too, it's just insane. I don't think that this is a movie that you necessarily HAVE to see in a big screen.

Javi: I think so. I think that the action is very immersive.

Jonesy: Either way, we both highly recommend it.



  1. the martial arts is from indoneisa called pencak silat

  2. Very cool! I want to look more into it. If you know of more movies that have it, let me know.

  3. Evans & Uwais had another movie in 2009 called "Merantau".