Watched Mar 19, 2012
David Valkenet’s review:
Let me start by conceding that there were a handful of good action set pieces and a scene or two of tension, when the cinematographer decided to turn the lights on and keep the camera still for long enough for me to make out what was happening.
However, the film is very serious and 'gritty' and purports to some semblance of naturalism (as opposed to something more goofy like Ong Bak). This turned me off to much of the violence, as it just felt nasty and nihilistic. I found it difficult to revel in the wanton destruction and waste of human life when it was presented in such a self-serious manner. I can see the point in films like Shindler's List, but in something like The Raid which is trying to be a fun martial arts film, I'd much prefer the film not to be as solemn.
The poster for The Raid boasts "1 minute of romance. 100 minutes of non-stop carnage." This may be all well and good from a marketing stand point (it got me interested) but in a film-making sense it poses some problems:
Mainly, if a film has but "1 minute of romance" the character development is going to be rushed to non-existent. Without characters to relate to (hell, even distinguish between) I, as a viewer, am not engaged in anything on screen.
So in summation: 1) it's too stupid to be taken seriously, and it's too serious to be fun, and 2) nothing matters and everything is boring.