QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

The Raid

I've been seeing people talk about the new Raid: 2. I haven't watched it yet, but the talk did prompt me to watch Raid: Redemption. I don't think there is a single plot point that is not cliche, but the very intense action keeps you well distracted from that. The perhaps most interesting aspect of this movie is taking the scenario of being behind enemy lines with no backup, and putting that in the tightly confined space of a single building.

It's a story of a police raid on a criminal enterprise. The cops start at 18 or 19 people, attempting to capture a crimelord on floor 15 of a large apartment building. The target has only force initially, mostly "spotters", but he has the ability to get reinforcements quickly from both internal recruitment (of residents) and external sharpshooters. Meanwhile the police — for plot significant reasons — have no backup options.

When the alarm is finally raised, after a spotter on floor five escapes, the situation gets nasty. Close fighting with guns, knives, machetes, and hand to hand under a variety of indoor conditions. When chopping a hole through the floor to jump down to an unknown situation is the best of your bad options, you know you have a lot of problems.

The DVD I watched had a lot of special features, a pleasant change from the barely any on many I watch these days. The package boasts "Over an hour", but some of that is putting the same intro/outro sequence on each of the six "video blog" segments. Still, it was good stuff, showing how the director works, how the filming was done (eg, the camera handoff between two DPs for the "hole drop" scene), and talking about budget limitations. In one of his interviews the director, Gareth Evans, mentions that the one vehicle they use on screen is a redressed piece of junk that needed to be push started. He had only one chance to film it getting destroyed.

Raid: Redemption was filmed on an estimated US.1 million budget in Jakarta. It gets a lot of mileage out of that budget. The budget for Raid: 2 is about US million, also in Jakarta. I imagine Gareth Evans found good ways to use the extra money.

Four bullets in five chambers.

The claycat version of the movie was one of the special features on the DVD...

on Youtube

I was reminded of J. G. Ballard's High Rise at one point