Watched Aug 17, 2012
Wow. I'm tired; physically exhausted after watching this movie.
The Raid is a 100 minute thrill ride from start to finish. Throughout the movie there are only a few minutes in which the viewer can catch their breath. While there is some gun play in the earlier parts, the movie really shines once we get to the hand to hand to blade fights that showcase the ancient "silat" martial arts, which balances both a familiarity and complete freshness in style that focuses on elbows, knees, and smashing heads into walls instead of straight jabs or other blows.
As with all great martial arts movies, everything relies on the choreography of the fights, and The Raid handles them masterfully. The fights are creative, complex, and entirely coherent and believable as they play out, which is a testament to both the performers and the cinematography as much as it is to the planning.
Technically, there is a story in place here but it all plays out as secondary to the action, which is perfectly fine. That said, the story does play out in a pretty interesting way and while it is fairly predictable (I was guessing actions and turns that would play out with relative ease), it didn't seem too contrived or unoriginal. It ended very logically, which I can't blame it for.
Much like the silat style of martial arts being displayed on screen, The Raid is swift, effective, and brutal. Everything this action fan was looking for.