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The Raid: Bringing Indonesia to Hollywood.

Hadi Ismanto

Mon Mar 26 2012


Set in the slums of Jakarta, The Raid is an action-packed thriller filled with stunning fight choreography bound to satisfy any adrenaline-junkie. Hadi Ismanto reports.

Ask an Indonesian to describe a typical Indonesian movie and you’re bound to hear local words for “ghosts” such as  pocong, ngesot or kuntil anak thrown around. You might even hear sexy, hamil (pregnant) or gairah (passion).  In fact, put any of those words together and voilà, you’ll end up with a typical Indonesian movie title.

So it’s no wonder then that when a well-made movie comes along (which doesn’t happen very often), it always feels like a breath of fresh air for Indonesian moviegoers.

Following the success of  Merantau in 2009, director Gareth Evans and rising martial-arts star Iko Uwais have reunited once again in this adrenaline-fuelled action film.

Having won the Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, this movie is surely Indonesia’s pride and joy.The Raid was also featured in Time Magazine in their “20 Movies to Look Out For in 2012” and even more impressively, it’s  managed to establish itself as the official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent cinema festival in the United States.


The Raid tells the story of  an elite swat team who fight their way through a safe house, located deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums, to take down the notorious drug lord who runs it. Though it appears to be a rundown apartment block from the outside, the safe house has been untouchable to outsiders – be it a rival gang or even the bravest of police.

When a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news reaches the drug lord, the building’s lights are cut and all the exits blocked. Stranded with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city’s worst thugs to survive their mission.


Photo: Madman Entertainment

Fast moves, hard punches and bloody injuries are probably what make this movie one of the best action movies of the year. Imagine all the brutal, hard and fast punches that you see in Ip Man and now combine it with the unique-I-did-not-expect-that kind of fighting choreography and not to mention the violent forms of execution.

In addition to martial arts, the action scenes also include a wide range of assault weaponry and cooperative combat techniques. The actors portraying the Special Forces troops had to be believable while communicating with sign language and carrying out tactical manoeuvres. Prior to shooting, Evans arranged for his team to attend a week of Indonesian navy training – known as KOPASKA – and the results were inarguable, as the cast arrived on set having bonded as a unit, with a full understanding of essential skills to carry out The Raid.


Photo: Madman Entertainment

With such action and intensity found in many of the high-paced action scenes, there has to be a music score that can match the adrenaline-pumping situations perfectly. When the responsibility was given to Mike Shinoda of the multi-platinum and Grammy-winning band Linkin Park, they couldn’t have made a better choice.

While the film was still in production, a rough version was screened for Shinoda and he immediately took to the material, feeling strongly that this should be his debut project as a film composer.

The Raid has so many things going for it, and is a thrill to watch,” says Shinoda.

“As I worked up pieces for the film, the music flowed uninhibited: everything felt natural and fit well. Nothing needed to be forced or over-thought. More than anything, it was fun.”

Shinoda also collaborated on the score with composer Joseph Trapanese – who had recently enjoyed a similar partnership with legendary electronica wizards Daft Punk on the score for TRON:Legacy.

We have 3 doubles passes to The Raid to give away. For your chance to win, tell us who you’d like to bring to see the film by tagging him/her in your comments on our Facebook page! The competition closes Monday April 2 and winners will be picked in a random draw and notified via Facebook. The competition is open to everyone in Victoria.