The Raid (2011)

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*. This one reminded me a lot of the French film The Horde (2009), a zombie slaughterfest that has a police team raiding a run-down, high-rise apartment building infested with well-armed gangsters who, in the event, turn into zombies. Basically the zombies and the gang members are interchangeable. Point being these are both body count movies, and you’re just paying for the action sequences.
*. I quite enjoyed The Raid, but there couldn’t have been more than ten pages of script. To call the family backstory stuff perfunctory would perhaps be giving it more credit than it’s due. What you’re watching is a two-hour cage fight.

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*. It’s also one of those ADD movies that never lets you catch your breath, what with all the abrupt editing and quick camera movement. There’s nothing wrong with that (especially in an action film), but it makes me wonder whether an audience raised on such fare will ever be able to go back and watch movies from a previous generation without going into fits. Won’t they just want to play videogames instead?
*. Gareth “Huw” Evans seems to have a thing for neck violence. Look at all those throats being cut, and necks slashed, punctured, and broken.
*. I do like how Evans has said in interviews that the only unrealistic thing about the fight sequences was their length. Some people might not think of this at first, but the fact is that even martial artists in top condition can only manage to fight at a pace like we see here for a couple of minutes. Then they’d be totally exhausted.
*. That’s a great line about how pulling a trigger is like ordering take-out. I guess real martial artists don’t need guns. Or weapons of any kind. Why else does Rama walk past various weapons (I spotted a gun, a knife, and the billy club that he had just used to such devastating effect) right after he leaves his wounded friend in the safe apartment? Why doesn’t he pick at least one of these useful items up?

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*. I love how everyone you meet in these martial arts films is a black belt. Even the flunkies working in the drug lab are set to start busting crazy moves as soon as the music starts.
*. There was, of course, immediate talk of an American remake. I don’t know why. Can’t Hollywood just go out and do a martial arts film of their own? There’s no story here to remake! It’s just a string of fight sequences. Anyone could come up with a generic five or six-page outline that would let the fight choreographers and stunt men do their thing without a story or plot getting in the way.

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