Before 2009, few martial arts film fans had ever heard of the traditional Indonesian combat style of silat, let alone seen a film from that part of the world. That all changed when writer/director Gareth Huw Evans made fan favourite Merantau, which ushered young fighter Iko Uwais into the cel­luloid arena. Uwais and Evans have teamed up again for The Raid, a fresh assault of fists and feet that has already been tagged as a martial-arts fusion of Die Hard and Assault on Precinct 13. In the heart of Jakarta lies a rundown apart­ment infested with druggies and drifters. It's ruled by Tama, a ruthless drug lord who uses the tenement to shelter his junkie customers, as well as his pushers, enforcers and killers. The apartment block is considered untouch­able by even the bravest of police ? until one morning when, cloaked under dawn's dark­ness, an elite swaT team led by Rama (Uwais) sweeps in. when their cover is blown, Tama's men lash back with a hellish fury, unleashing a hail of bullets that cuts the team of lawmen down by half. with their exits blocked and munitions running low, Rama and his men must rally their energy and face off against a hive of vicious killers. As Rama's squad races between the rooms and floors of the building, the stakes get higher and higher, and director Evans uses this maze to bring numerous innova­tive kills and action gags to the screen. He builds set piece upon set piece, including a knock-'em-down brawl in the building's drug lab. The Raid starts with a simple premise and makes no pretensions about show­ing its audience non-stop, bone-crunching ass-whuppings administered by its star. Comparisons to Tony Jaa are quick to come by, but Uwais stands apart. His warm screen presence and flexible dramatic edge ? not to mention his awesome fighting skills ? are bound to win him new fans.

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