Out Today: The Raid
18 May 2012
Set in an Indonesian tower block, The Raid follows a rookie SWAT team of 20 men with "30 floors of mayhem" ahead of them. The block has been taken over as a drug baron's HQ who gives the dregs of local society cheap rent in return for protection. The SWAT team's mission is simple enough, get in there and remove the guy at the top, but they soon realise that the men are ready for them. Advancing through each floor is to be a battle it itself.
The Raid has everything that you would expect from an Asian action film, violence, violence and a bit more violence, from the start to the end, but what we didn't expect is for the film to be directed by Gareth Huw Evans from South Wales. In a recent interview in the Guardian, Gareth describes how his action movie obsession developed from the first time he saw Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon when he was only 5. " ...my mum really didn't want me watching them. We had an Asda catalogue in the house, and there was an advert for the videotape of Bruce Lee's The Big Boss. And it was 18-rated. So I got an orange felt-tip pen and tried to write 'PG' on top of it. Like, 'Oh, look, mum, it's clearly PG." If you were wondering, Gareth did end up getting the tape, and he says it was way too violent for him!
So how did Gareth make the transition from his 9-5 job in Swansea to making The Raid? His wife a contact in Jakarta who was looking for someone to create a documentary about the martial art, silat. Gareth took this job and which soon led him to directing the 2009 film, Merantau. Of for his reasonings behind creating The Raid, he says "A lot of the criticisms levelled at Merantau were, 'Oh, it's too soft,'" he says. "A lot of the fanboys turned against us. They said, 'Aw **** Iko - he'd have his arse kicked. He's got no power, no speed.' So the The Raid was almost a response to that. It was like, 'We've got to raise our game.'" If The Raid does only one thing, it definitely raises the bar for the genre.