This movie isn’t science fiction, but I’ve noticed that many sci-fi bloggers are fans of John Wick, and the two movies seem similar to me, both having enough plot to be real stories, but focusing primarily on action with a high body count. (My wife has just pointed out to me that a better comparison plot-wise might be the most recent Judge Dredd film, which is science fiction.)
The Raid was the first Indonesian film I watched, and just like my first Thai film, I wasn’t expecting much going in, but was surprised when I got a really enjoyable movie, as good or better than the stuff coming out of Hollywood.
In the story, a crime lord in Jakarta lives on the top floor of an apartment building. He rents the floors below to criminals, who pay high rent to live in a police-free zone. This doesn’t sit well with one squad of Jakarta’s cops, who decide to launch a surprise raid and take down all the residents at once.
You realize that Jakarta PD isn’t playing by American-cop rules when they open their assault by garroting a sentry. I won’t spoil the movie by recounting any more of the plot, but enough gunfights and fistfights break out to satiate even the most hopelessly addicted of action-addicts.
Some common action-film tropes were present, but not to the point that they detracted from the entertainment. For example, the good guys and bad guys largely ran out of ammunition at the same time. The film stars a number of famous pencak silat (Indonesian martial arts) practitioners, so of course it needed to showcase their unarmed combat skills.
There were two major plot twists. The first (so obvious that I don’t mind giving it away) is that one of the upper-level cops was corrupt, not really a surprise as most films with cops in them have at least one bad doughnut. I still have some interests in the country, so I’m not going to say much here, but my understanding is that most Indonesians would call a corrupt upper-level cop a setting detail rather than a plot twist. In fact, if I’d been directing the movie, I’d have said “Let’s blow peoples’ minds with this one. Let’s make the guy NOT corrupt.”
The second plot twist was much more interesting, story-wise, so I’m not going to spoil it here. I’ll just tell you that if you like blazing guns and knuckle sandwiches, you want to see this movie.