The Raid

Somewhere in Jakarta, a bunch of rookie SWAT cops find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew in attacking an apartment block full of murderous crims. It shouldn’t have been hard to make that work, but a smart, efficient, captivating thriller this ain’t. The setup is twenty-plus minutes of irrational nonsense, after which my face was red from slapping it so much. Do they even have the right building? What follows is some earnest and impressive action set pieces arranged around a napkin sized plot. If you can take the ongoing and scarcely differentiated output of today’s asian martial arts entertainment seriously, as some do, this an exceptionally crafted example. But for the rest of us the overwrought display of skill looks like an amphetamined sideshow from Cirque de Soleil. This is not how fights are fought or battles won. I suspect the rather simple story is a mess not so much in the tale as the telling, so the writers of the pending US remake needn’t have their work entirely cut out for them.

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