Every once in a blue moon comes an action movie that reinvigorates the genre, raising the bar for the next generation of contenders: Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans’ breathless and bloody contender, lensed in Jakarta, is that film, and one of the year’s most extraordinary cinematic experiences. The pared-down (and let’s be honest, largely superfluous) narrative concerns a SWAT team’s ill-advised attempt to storm a massive apartment complex run by crime boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy). To nab the bad guy and get out alive, they’re going to have to kick ass and plenty of it. Their ace in the hole is rookie cop Rama, portrayed with verve by charismatic Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais, oozing star potential as he beats – using the unique Silat fighting style – a path to freedom.
Winner of both audience and critics’ awards at this year’s JDIFF, The Raid was greeted with a well-deserved standing ovation. It’s the first in a projected trilogy. Bring. It. On! (Notes by Derek O’Connor.)
Bang For Your Buck: Action Movies 101 season takes place May 1st – 27th.