Toronto Review: 'The Raid' - One of the Best Action Movies in Years!
by Alex Billington
September 9, 2011
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