The Raid is a film I’d been meaning to watch for ages, so when it was thrown into the ring for this series, it was the perfect opportunity to cross it off my watchlist. As a Kill Bill and John Wick fan, I was sure I was going to like it. However, nothing could’ve prepared me for quite how mind-blowing the experience actually was.
80% of this film is full-throttle action
Boredom is something you can be sure you won’t suffer from whilst watching The Raid. Director Gareth Evans is championed for how he showcases action and violence, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are his films generous with what they show, but it’s presented in a way audiences get the very best of the experience. I was quick to notice how the camera work thrust the viewer right into the heart of the action. It was almost as if you needed to try and duck every punch and kick that was thrown. The best way I can describe it is as an adrenaline rush you can experience vicariously through the film itself.
Something which allowed The Raid to feel so non-stop was the score. It set a strong rhythm, ratcheting up the anticipation so the next round of action could hit the ground running. In all honesty I don’t think it missed a single beat the entire time I was watching. Every action sequence was mercilessly unrelenting, and all of the more climactic kills elicited an extremely involuntary ‘OOF!’ response from me. I really couldn’t fault it.
The Raid harks back to a golden era of action
Something else that worked for me here was the ‘old’ look the film was styled with. It had that classic 80’s action aesthetic that I think really allows films in this vein to thrive. In no way am I tearing down the highly-stylised neon looks the John Wick franchise has come to favour, but I think the more ‘spit-and-sawdust’ vibe was a better choice here. It meant the action (can you believe I’m still banging on about it?) could take centre-stage, and let nothing detracted from the talents of all of the martial artists on display.
I will say that The Raid is a foreign language film, and as such that might put some people off rushing to get it watched. However, my feeling towards it was that the dialogue was not such a huge component of the film; that it would be just as enjoyable without paying too much attention to what was being said. What I’m getting at here is if subtitles are something that have deterred you from watching certain films in the past, this would be a good place to start. And who knows – you might even enjoy yourself.
A film that defines awesomeness
What else is there to say about The Raid? If action is your thing, you will absolutely love it! Think of John Wick, Kill Bill and perhaps the odd Steven Seagal film, but strip them all right back to what lies at their very core – that essentially sums up The Raid. It pours its energy into raising the bar for the action genre, and I think it pulls it off.
Seeing as you’re here…
Why not check out my thoughts on Calm With Horses – another recommendation courtesy of Film Twitter?