Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting excited over "The Raid"

It's a couple of days before the release of Indonesian action movie "The Raid" and I can't wait. And I'm not someone who goes to the cinema that often.

I'm not going to lie and say that there's not some Indonesian patriotism at play here, because there is, and heaps of it. Indonesia is not South Korea or Hong Kong; it does not have an immense track record of making awesome films. (The only one that I've seen and liked is the romantic comedy Janji Joni, or "Joni's Promise".) So when a movie from Indonesia creates a big buzz at various film festivals and gets a 94% rating on RottenTomatoes, that's enough to almost make me have a joyous accident in my pants. Particularly when the trailer brings to mind such excellent movies as Thailand's Ong Bak, Korea's Oldboy and Brazil's The Elite Squad. It's being re-titled The Raid: Redemption for US audiences, presumably because there are sequels in the works.

The reviews are good, and I'm just quoting from those featured on the RottenTomatoes page here:

"...one of the most stirring action films in eons with The Raid, a relentlessly brutal and endlessly enjoyable flick that never runs out of inventive ways to kill people."
"The combination of a great premise, brilliantly-inventive direction, incredible fight sequences and spirited performances makes it easy for us to already proclaim that The Raid is the action movie of the year."
"An unrelenting, action-packed can of whoop-ass that delivers one of the most fun moviegoing experiences of the past decade."
"It's easy to forget the story altogether in the sheer rush of Rama's fight to the top floor; instead, viewers will wonder how the amazing battle that just ended could possibly be topped. But it is, again and again."

A lot of comparisons are being made to Ong Bak, which revitalized the martial arts action genre with it's Thai flavour, combined with Tony Jaa's visceral physicality and penchant for elbowing guys in the skull. But here instead of Muay Thai, it's the Indonesian art of Silat which is going to get some worldwide exposure. The martial arts hero here is Iko Uwais, and Welsh-born director Gareth Evans.

It opens this Thursday night, and I'll be there with my ticket humming the Indonesian national anthem.

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