There is unprecedented 160,000 something audience over last weekend went to see The Raid, in Indonesia alone. I have been holding so long not going to see it (due to work) so that day work bites the dust, I went to see The Raid catching afternoon show at PIM 1 XXI.
With no holds barred, the action gets right to it withing 10 minutes of the movie. There was only short intro of Rama (Iko Uwais) the main protagonist must leave his pregnant wife for a tour of duty. Then cut to the SWAT team truck, the scene where his commander Jaka (Joe Taslim) give a brief to the team, in short giving the audience what is the main plot.
The location of The Raid itself is within a 30 floor building owned by a sadistic crime-lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy,) so sadistic that cut-to-cut camera works shows early on that he executed someone with a hammer for he was out of bullets. In-your-face sadistic execution lays out upfront that it was an ultra-violent movie.
The film-making style is reminiscent of classic kung-fu action movie (but bear in mind that the martial art showcased in the movie is pencak silat, a genuine Indonesian martial art,) lots of martial art choreographed beautifully by Iko Uwais (he is a pencak silat athlete,) Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog FTW) and Gareth Evans, the director himself. On a discussion with Ayu Bulandini (former editor of First magazine) Gareth himself is very fond of the martial art, and showcased it in his previous film Merantau. The movie was produced by Ario Sagantoro.
With that contained plot and set, there’s no need to justify logic here. No need to question plot holes or incorrect facts. Pure entertainment. Personally a little too violent for me, but that’s what makes the movie special. It was not only pencak silat fights, but also action sequence of gun fights, explosions, slow motioned bullets, in short it was a stylized action movie, eastern style. To borrow from Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian, Tama’s henchman) says in the movie, it’s better to fight bare-handed than with guns: the movie is well-hand-crafted, no big hooplas. Efficient productions, given the limited budget.
For distribution, the producers utilized the distribution line of Hong Kong kung-fu movie, so it’s targeting a specific and direct market. What amazes me that Mike Shinoda of Linkin park gets the scoring works for the movie, it also cross-market itself to huge Linkin park fanbase, giving it an international appeal (it is already a box-office in the U.S.) Mike’s work is also stunning, atmospheric LinkinParkesque beat and distortion.
All in all appreciate Gareth Evans for personally showcasing Indonesian movie to international world and kudos producers, cast & crew for a great work. Looking forward to the sequel: Berandal (2013.)