This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Pencak Silat master Iko Yuwais faces a seemingly impossible task in The Raid

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Friday, August 17, 12:20 am

The Raid is a nonstop claustrophobic thrill ride through a fifteen-story apartment complex where danger lurks around every corner and behind nearly every door. The gated, heavily protected building is run by Tama (Ray Sahetapy), a well-connected drug lord who enjoys terrorizing and killing traitors and enemies. Early one morning Jaka (Joe Taslim) leads his elite special forces unit on a raid of the complex, ordered to get Tama and end his brutal reign. As Jaka’s team falls one by one, it is left to a determined young rookie, Rama (Iko Uwais), to complete the mission, which is not quite what it appears to be. Written, directed, and edited by Welsh-born Gareth Huw Evans, The Raid is a furious, testosterone-heavy action flick filled with breathtaking scenes of ultraviolence countered by moments of intense, quiet drama where one wrong move will be a character’s last. Primarily shot with a handheld camera that puts the audience in the middle of the battle, the film uses a variety of weapons in the well-choreographed fight scenes, from machine guns and pistols to serrated knives and machetes, while focusing on the martial art of Pencak Silat.

Uwais, a former truck driver and Silat champion who was discovered by Evans while the director was researching a documentary on the martial art — the two previously teamed up on 2009’s Merantau — is outstanding as Rama, a father-to-be who might have met his match in Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), one of Tama’s chief operatives and a killer who prefers using his hands, fists, and feet to eliminate his opponents. (Uwais, Ruhian, and Evans collaborated on the action choreography.) Buoyed by a pulsating score by Joseph Trapanese and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and evoking elements of the first Die Hard, the original Assault on Precinct 13, and New Jack City, The Raid, which was released in America as The Raid: Redemption, is a pulse-pounding, wildly successful film that has kicked off a franchise, with two planned sequels, the first being 2014’s The Raid 2: Berandal. Even the credits are awesome, with dozens of characters listed as Hole Drop Attacker, Riot Van Shooter, Carrying Bowo Fighter, Machete Gang, AK47 Attacker, Panic Man, Tortured Man, and Junkie Guy. “I deal in blood and mayhem,” Evans, who had been based in Indonesia since 2007 before moving back to Wales in 2015, states in the film’s production notes. Indeed he does. The Raid, which was shown in MoMA’s 2012 “New Directors, New Films” festival, is screening at 12:20 am on August 17 in the Nitehawk Cinema series “A Brief History of Midnight,” which concludes with Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre on August 24.

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