Climb. Fight. Repeat. - TopTenMM Martial Arts Movies

The Raid 1


A S.W.A.T team is trapped by a dangerous mobster and an army of killers.


Director: Gareth Evans (as Gareth Huw Evans)

Writer: Gareth Evans (as Gareth Huw Evans)

Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy


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The Raid Redemption (The Raid) is the ultimate action movie. Directed by Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Joe Taslim The Raid follows a police unit trapped on the seventh floor of a 15-storey building that belongs to the local drug lord Tama. They are outnumbered and outgunned and must use the little they have to eliminate Tama and escape with their lives.


The Raid is a relentless experience, non-stop, brutal action. Every sequence is a flawless display of choreography and violence. With artfully constructed set pieces and a remarkable attention to detail, from the reflections in a doorknob to the creak of floorboards Gareth Evans directs every moment with patience and purpose. Despite its brutality, the violence is not gratuitous, it conveys the reality of the unit’s predicament, the constant danger, the fact that no one is safe. The violence combined with astounding choreography gives the film grit and spectacle simultaneously, a balance difficult to achieve and easy to lose as the action escalates. Gareth Evans however finds that balance and maintains a sense of realism throughout.


Iko Uwais, relatively unknown before The Raid plays rookie officer Rama. He’s the audience’s protagonist, the character the movie follows. Uwais is brilliant, not just in the action but in the moments between, his character doesn’t say much but we feel his situation, the danger that envelopes him, we feel his fear and at times desperation. He has a family to return to, it’s only a few scenes in the first act that establish this, but this added layer of character gives Rama a reason to survive and it makes the action considerably more intense.

The violence combined with astounding choreography gives the film grit and spectacle simultaneously, a balance difficult to achieve and easy to lose as the action escalates.

The action in The Raid is ground-breaking, visceral and elegant at the same time, ferocious and beautiful. The action is grounded, it’s violent, bloody knuckles and bone crunching blows yet artfully choreographed at the same time. The sequences take their time, the action isn’t settled with a few blows, it’s a painful, prolonged process; what starts with quick measured blows becomes a brawl, bloody and sweaty, and unlike several films in the genre the characters in The Raid are not immune to fatigue. With each strike, their strength diminishes, combat becomes as much about endurance as it is about force. The Raid understands what real combat is, it’s ugly and violent. It’s not a bloodless process, fighters aren’t defeated in single blows, it’s a dirty, gruelling battle of skill and endurance.


Gareth Evans directs The Raid with passion and conveys realism and spectacular choreography with talented actors and brilliant set pieces that make for an exhilarating experience that never pulls a punch.

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