Friday, April 20, 2012


Directed by Gareth Evans

Iko Uwais - Rama
Joe Taslim - Jaka
Yayan Ruhian - Mad Dog

     A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

     It was a busy weekend when I saw this. After watching two films on Saturday, one really, really good and one just so-so, I get to watch Serbuan Maut. This one has gotten so much attention through film festivals that it has played at that it piqued my curiosity about it. Then I got to see the red band trailer for it last year and that basically sealed it for me that I have to see this film. And now over a year later I finally got to see this film thanks to it playing where I live.

      How often can we say that every actor in an action film, I mean a pure action, does a good job? Not very many. Well the ones made in the United States at least. I've seen plenty of Asian martial art movies and most of the time the acting is above normal. Yet in this one, every person on screen was spot on. Even the extras they had did good. Though the main actors stuck out more than the others. Iko Uwais, as Rama, has the lead role in the film as nails it. While most actors in this type of film is more of a one note character, Uwais adds a dept to Rama to make him more than that. He's not a loner type character but has a wife with a baby on the way and it shows in the opening scenes that he cares deeply for them and the look of worry on his face before he leaves. And no, his family doesn't die to send him on a revenge mission. Yes shocking, I know. Don't get me wrong even though he has emotions, he's a bad ass. But the one actor that stole the whole movie was Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog. If you go and see this film, for any reason, see it for this man. His acting is on par and above with any action star out right now. When he speaks there is a conviction to it (even in the native tongue of the movie, which is Indonesian, you can tell). There not one false thing in his acting from what I could tell.

     I'm sure by now you're probably wondering how was the action in this film since it is a action film. Well the best way to put it is that it was amazing. Even though there is gun play in the film, hell over half the raiding party is wiped out in just the first gun fight, the real fun starts after the ammunition runs low and the guns are discarded. At this point knives came out and bladed weapons emerge as does the hand to hand fights. Don't get me wrong, the gun fights in the movie are better than most, yet the fall to the back ground later on. So what sets the action in this film apart than most is the fights. This is due to Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais who did the fight choreography for the film. The minimum fight time is about five minutes starting out and the fight times go up past that. The center piece for the film is the final fight between Rama, his brother, and Mad Dog. This one fight scene runs about twenty minutes with a break of about three minutes in the middle of it. The main reason for why this one fight is memorable is the speed and the precision that is happening on screen. I was, to put it simply, glued to the screen during this fight and even though I knew how it was going to end, I didn't care. I wanted the fight to keep on going for another twenty minutes. I can not stress how vicious yet cool the fight was. And just when you think it's going to end thanks to a light tube into a throat, the bastard just starts to fight harder and faster. Yes, you read that right. The bad guy gets a broken tube shoved into his throat and he just gets more pissed and dishes out even more punishment to his opponents. Which he was kicking both of their asses all over the place already. I didn't mention that Mad Dog stands at most, if he's lucky, five feet tall.

     I'm going to give a big thanks to director Gareth Evans here for doing what should have been done a long time ago in action films and that's pulling the camera back to capture all the action that is going on. There is no shaky cameras or quick cuts every two seconds.  We, the viewers, get to see all the action that going on as well as the brutality that is happening. I have never seen so many faces go into walls as I have in The Raid. I'm not talking about a person falling into the wall. I'm talking about the person's body is picked up and swung horizontally, with great speed by the way, into the wall. Though there was one problem with the action though. That problem is sometimes the camera was to up close to the action and that caused the action to get lost. This didn't happen very often so it didn't take anything away from the film. The film is being hailed as one of the greatest action films ever and damn did it not back that statement up constantly throughout it's almost two hour run time. From a one against four machete fight to Rama taking out almost a whole floor of armed thugs by himself with a knife, this film is a non-stop thrill ride that barely lets up until the end. Even at the end you just want to see it again right away. Now all I have to do is wait to see the sequel Berandal and it cannot come out soon enough.

     Thug's splitting headache from being shot in the head at point blank range not once, not twice , but three times.

     Go to work and have fun.

     The original title "Serbuan Maut" means Deadly Invasion in English.

     Yayan Ruhian, who played the Mad Dog character, had once trained Pencak Silat for Pasukan Pengamanan Presiden (the Indonesian Presidential Security Forces- equivalent to US Secret Service) in 1989 and for the Indonesian Military Police Corps in the early 1990s.

     Every actor who played a member of the SWAT team went through a training program with KOPASKA to study the techniques used in the force including weapons use and hand signals.

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