I’m all for the modern action movie, its sudden boom has worked wonders and provides us with some great pieces of film. The Raid is a stylish piece of film that will work as a brain-dead action movie, full of thrills, decently unique choreography and set pieces galore. Its writing, or mere lack of it, is by far the biggest downfall of the film; with no story present all we have here is a large variety of fight scenes that don’t necessarily link together in the most competent of fashion.
There’s no denying the competency of director Gareth Evans, with some thrilling shots that will get right under the skin of the audience. Some close encounters and nail-biting scenes of tension manage to bring out some good scenes. It’s a shame then that the dialogue and script are so full of dull motifs and nonsensical premises that it blows the tension out of the water. Really it feels like it cheapens the whole affair. Lucky then that what few lines of dialogue we receive and encounter are often clouded by agonising screams of the hundreds of mindless deaths that are littered throughout the running time.
Extremely predictable but a fair bit of fun if you’re wanting a very basic story and a good chunk of violence. We’re given backstories and push and pull struggles that would come in every other action movie, but it means nothing when the group we’re given are merely blank slates filled only with cliché. Iko Uwais’ leading performance as Rama is just about solid enough to lead us through a great action movie, but one that has no interest in spilling the details of its characters.
But that doesn’t stop The Raid from trying to have its own puzzling story that leads to nowhere. We have a crooked cop, a family man, a fighter and a religious man. I’m still not sure whether or not this was meant to be the same character, but it’s beside the point anyway since it doesn’t matter whatsoever. When everyone ends up shooting or being shot at, the worries of family life and crooked coppers falls to the wayside, and it’s hard to keep up with such a large group of characters trapped in a confined space.
Either way, The Raid does a serviceable job as an action film with some incomprehensible storylines. Superb action isn’t always enough to carry an action movie, as awkward as that sounds. Evans’ efforts here go wasted on a script that had more depth than he, or the cast, was expecting. The Raid is fine, gruesome and wholly boring at times.