Since it’s coming out on blu in a few weeks, I wanted to put some thoughts on this excellent film down. It’s a film I’ve championed ever since I saw it earlier in the summer, but don’t anyone else that’s seen it. A film like this that comes out of the blue, with zero hype, and knocks you for six is very rare indeed.
It’s the antithesis of Hollywood fluff. Every scene counts. The fight scenes are long, particularly the climactic three-way, uncompromising and excellently choreographed and shot. There is no romance underpinning the narrative and distracting from the core of the film. There are no known film stars to be seen of course, and characters in the doomed police unit get picked off one by one. We really don’t know, as the viewer, who will survive until the closing credits. This keeps that ‘edge of the seat’ feeling throughout most of the running time.
This never happens in Hollywood action movies as they all follow the same trajectory. Get some stars together, give them some quips and a few action scenes, a car chase or two, maybe an explosion here and there, and make the hero save the day and get the girl in the end. Of course, the violence has to be tame enough to get a 15 rating or better yet, 12A. That offers more box office potential. Those big stars and huge set-pieces aren’t cheap, and budgets must be recouped. And don’t forget all the marketing. Before you know it, you’ve blown $100m on a forgettable flop that no one will remember 12 months from its release date. The Raid is anything but forgettable. Some of the images were ingrained on my memory for days after seeing it.
Why can’t Hollywood make something as hardcore as The Raid? It’s set in one building for fuck’s sake. It’s made around three times its budget, and this is pretty much all through word of mouth. It only had a limited release in the UK in cinemas as well. And this is all before the home video release. AND it’s fucking subtitled.
Make some films for lads. Make them horrifically violent. Don’t scrimp on the gore. Don’t pander to the golden 15 rating. Leave the romance for the rom-coms as well. It’s not needed in every single fucking film ever made. These films will make a profit. They may not break any box office records in terms of pure revenue, but they will still give a return on the investment. I do not expect masterpieces but I want something with balls, like The Raid or Rambo 4.
The Raid is my favourite film so far of 2012 and I am sure it will remain in that spot come December. It’s a flick I instantly wanted to talk about and watch again when I finished it, and I will enjoy multiple repeat viewings after picking it up on blu. How many Hollywood actioners can I say the same thing about? Sadly, very few.