[Header: Iko Uwais as Rama | SinemArt, Sony Pictures Classics, Stage 6 Films]

“Our mission is simple: we go in, and we take him out!”

This movie has been on my to-watch list for at least 4 years now and I finally got around to watching it. Throughout that time, I kept coming across people recommending it as a must-see movie and while I don’t consider it a top-tier favourite by any means, it was certainly worth the hype and I’m pleased I finally got around to it.

Set in Jakarta (Indonesia), an elite SWAT team attempt to infiltrate a rundown apartment block that is used as a safe house by various criminals and is seen as untouchable. Their task is to take down the notorious drug lord who runs the building, however, trapped on the sixth floor, the team have to fight their way through.

I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in. Beyond the obvious, that is, but this was a genuinely good watch. While the plot is fairly basic, it more than makes up for that with great structure and pleasant pacing. Not a second of time is misused and there’s always something going on. With Indonesian martial arts used throughout, there’s constant action with some pretty wonderful fight choreography that makes it a delight to watch and it never feels overused. That being said, this movie is extremely violent and it doesn’t shy away from that fact. Between the visuals and the sounds, the violence is incredibly detailed although, as I said, the choreography for it helps a lot. Also, there are thankfully moments of reprieve throughout the movie where dialogue is shared and characters — along with the audience — have a moment to breathe (or think) before we are thrust right back into the thick of things.

Something else that helps with that feeling of relief is that there is some heart to the storyline. While it might look like a simple action movie about a SWAT team fighting their way through a run-down apartment building, there’s actually a personal touch running throughout. Specifically in terms of Rama — a SWAT member — played by Iko Uwais. I’m not going to get into specifics but slowly things are revealed about him as well as the nature of the assignment that helps to keep things interesting and to stop the whole movie from feeling like a one-dimensional piece that only cares about graphic violence. Considering those moments of relief are always put to good use, they never take away from the momentum that the movie has.

From beginning to end, The Raid is an entertaining ride. There’s always something going on. Whether it be the huge (and detailed) action sequences or those quieter moments. It’s all interesting and every bit can easily capture your attention. You certainly won’t get bored and due to the aforementioned action, the storyline, the characters, and so many other little details, this movie is, as I said before, anything but one-dimensional.

Rating: ★★★★ /5

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