Toronto Review: 'The Raid' - One of the Best Action Movies in Years!

September 9, 2011

The Raid

Holy shit I haven't seen an action movie this good in years! I felt that way only 30 minutes in, but after the full 100 minutes, I still felt the same and had to exclaim that here, right upfront, because it deserves that much praise. I saw the Indonesian film The Raid at the Toronto Film Fest, it's the opening night Midnight Madness film, and it's crazy, with insanely awesome action non-stop throughout. Written and directed by Gareth Evans, the film takes place entirely in one big drug lord-controlled building, where the police raid is occurring, but things don't turn out as planned and the tides are completely turned just halfway through.

I walked into The Raid knowing nothing about it. The film quickly introduces us to Jaka (Joe Taslim), one member of a 20-man police squad in Jakarta, Indonesia that decides to raid a building run a ruthless drug lord named Tama. The first half opens with the SWAT team raiding the building in full tactical gear and it has better action choreography than most Hollywood films. If you need to brush up on your Counter-Strike or Call of Duty tactics, this is the "training video" to watch, as their technique should help any gamer hone their skills as it's near perfect, and perfectly captured on film, which is amazing. But everything quickly gets out of control for the good guys, lots of people start dying, and the drug lord hits back hard.

The Raid has badass action of all kinds, with weaponry including machine guns, pistols, shotguns, machetes, knives, chairs, martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, plus lots of kills using the environment around them in this run down building. There's even a incredible moment where one of the cops slams a bad guy through a window, falling outside with him, dropping a few stories to the safety railing, then letting the bad guy die while he slams back into another window to keep fighting (and stay alive) as they've got gunman outside as well. It's intense and never lets up, from start to finish, though the final few fights weren't as action-packed as the first half, but that's no matter, it still kicks ass and the action is still so frickin' awesome to watch.

I feel like The Raid is one of those amazing action films from abroad that those lucky enough to hear about will discover themselves, then will go back and introduce it to all of their friends, boasting about how they found this awesome movie. I already want to show it to everyone because I had such a blast watching it. There are a few slow moments that allow us to catch our breath, but for the most part the action will knock you out as much as the people in the film are getting completely knock out (but at least you'll be alive at the end to tell everyone about it). What an exhilarating way to start this festival, it's a film I definitely won't be forgetting anytime soon. It truly is one of the best action films I've seen in years. That was so badass!

Alex's Toronto Rating: 9 out of 10

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Reader Feedback - 35 Comments


Hey I saw a trailer online about this movie. I think you should put the trailer up as well. If the trailer is any indication then I believe everything your saying about the movie. The trailer was pretty intense.

Fortress on Sep 9, 2011


Yep, I just saw it, and just posted the trailer as a follow-up to this, too! Watch here:

Alex Billington on Sep 9, 2011


Okay, Alex, I'm sold.  How and when do the rest of us get to see this film?

john on Sep 9, 2011


it will hit Indonesian theaters in Jan 2012. I don't know about the rest of the globe 😀

Ari on Sep 12, 2011


Trying to find a trailer to this. No luck 🙁

Icefilm on Sep 9, 2011


Yay! I'm happy again! 😀

Icefilm on Sep 9, 2011


Great, we need more of those non re-thingis and more of alternative to get Hollywood back on track but then again they almost ruined John Woo for example. will check this out. And yes post a trailer

Loser on Sep 9, 2011


I can't see the trailer from my country, can someone please put a link to download it?

Nuno Lopes on Sep 9, 2011


Canada can't see that trailer either.

AJ Batac on Sep 9, 2011


Same here

Loser on Sep 9, 2011


Youtube on Sep 9, 2011


Thanks man cool

Loser on Sep 9, 2011



Moif on Sep 10, 2011



Daniel Vu Tran on Sep 10, 2011


When is this movie going to hit US theaters??

Big R on Sep 10, 2011


Sounds spectacular. Saw the trailer about an hour ago and now I'm really, really looking forward to seeing it!

Andreas Climent on Sep 10, 2011


Me likey

ur_babys_daddy on Sep 10, 2011


Damn, the only drawback is praying this title is still burning in the back of my mind when it gets some arthouse release in the states 15 years down the line.... I'll cop this movie on DVD automatically if it drops there firs, but I REALLY want to see this on the big screen.

That 1 Guy.... on Sep 14, 2011


News: International sales company Celluloid Nightmares have just announced a broad slate of distribution deals for the film with the wave led by the purchase of US rights by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. In all there are now confirmed deals in place for the US (Sony), Canada (Alliance), the UK (Momentum), Australia (Madman), France (SND), Germany (Koch), Japan (Kadokawa), China (HGC) and Turkey (Calinos) with further deals currently being finalized that will cover the Benelux, East Asia and other territories.

Bambang Saputra on Sep 15, 2011


Great tip, thanks for highlighting this film.  I am definitely going to add it to my Netflix queue You might also check out this poll of movie bloggers and others for the Best Action Films:

Rankography movies on Sep 17, 2011


Is it going to Academy Awards?

Chrisna on Sep 22, 2011


 yo there's another movie where joe taslim plays and also the same director called "Merantau" check it out...peace from indonesia ^_^

Asian Pride on Oct 3, 2011


just correction : Merantau starring Iko Uwais... not Joe Taslim

Sidekick High Jump on Oct 11, 2011


Just saw it at Sitges Fantastic film festival. Is an action Masterpiece! Hollywood  directors must study it for its awesome rhythm and action storytelling. Can`t wait to watch it again.

Sergio Pinto on Oct 20, 2011


sony has bought the rights for a remake! little wonder I bet it will be a stinker

angel on Oct 23, 2011


Just watch this movie in Indonesia Fantastic Film Festival this November. Believe me, the movie live up the hype. One of the most brutal-and fun-action movie I ever watched. On the release date, the Indonesia 19 January release is delayed. No confirmation yet, but there is rumour around that we are expecting worldwide release somewhere in March or April.

Luk_rasat on Nov 25, 2011


awesome traier...hardy can wait to watch this movie...! two thumb up for this movie, i read all the critics for this movie from imdb...they all said .."awasome !

Michaeldeco77 on Dec 4, 2011


I am grasping for breath ..cant wait till it hits Aussie shores .Merantau warrior,blew me away the likes of this .The stunts and choregraphy must be ball room bliss and fist full of  action !  Ito and tony and donnie rule the action world !  

Drunken Aussie Fist on Jan 11, 2012


its poor for us Indonesian,, we haven't got any information about when The Raid show on our theatre.. although Iko Uwais brother is my friend, but he just don't know when will it be.. we are Indonesian fortunately have a chance to watched The Raid on BlitzMegaplex last November 2011, but for showing on all theatre in Indonesia is on 2012, but when exactly.. we do not know..

Rahadian on Jan 24, 2012


Sounds like an awesome movie worth seeing. Gonna watch it on cinema in Dublin, Ireland this weekend :).

Imam Kambali on Feb 22, 2012


wow...kick'n ass and butt...punching and's a common in a action fighting shooting flick...but having most of if from dawn till's pretty freekin' awesome...just can't wait to watch it and get my butt kick' 

Jus on Feb 25, 2012


Still curious as to when it will be released in the US on DVD. But looks super badass. Best trailer I've seen since the first Ong Bak.

Aenimal on Apr 1, 2012


I'm yet to see a review that doesn't give this film less than 4 out of 5. It truly shows how amazing this film is! This is my favourite review!

Ryan B on Sep 6, 2012

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