In the heart of Jakata lies an apartment block, 30 stories high and inhabited by some of the most violent and ruthless underworld criminals. Ruled with an iron fist by a notorious drug lord, the building has remained untouchable with even the best of the police's resources unwilling to darken its doors. Until now.....
The film follows Rama (Iko Uwais) and the group of elite cops as they attempt what was previously thought unthinkable, a raid on this haven for those on the wrong side of the law. Thinking they have the upper hand by launching an unsuspected dawn attack, the 20 strong group of enforcers slip into the building, efficiently and quietly. That is until a spotter pulls the alarm. Their objective is no longer taking the building down but getting out alive.
Gareth Evans has delivered a heart pounding, rip roaring, no holds barred action film which is unlike anything else I have seen. There have been martial arts action movies that are a fantastic spectacle and break conventional barriers (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and even Ong Bak) but the inventiveness of the way this one is delivered provided me with a viewing experience that left me breathless.
The choreography and ability of artists in the fight scenes is exceptional, coupled with an inspired use of the camera and cinematography to make it look as beautiful as it is frenetic. This is a non stop juggernaut of an action film that doesn't let up. The dramatic scenes, whilst well acted and providing us with the necessity of a plot, serve to whet your appetite for what is coming next.
For me personally I couldn't find a fault in this film, which if you wanted to look past its shallow exterior, I'm sure it has. After all the story telling really is secondary to the action. However if you know that you are getting a film that does exactly what it says on the tin then I don't see this as an issue. I was entertained and excited all the way through, walking away wishing for more. That, my dear reader, is the sign of a great film.
I'm not saying everyone will enjoy it to the extent that I did as no matter how fantastic you and a million others believe a film to be, there will always be those that don't agree. However in this case, they would be wrong!
I am aware I haven't talked about the acting and the characters (Iko creates an eminently likeable hero in Rama) but that's not what this film is about. Although even these bits are handled better than most dramatic films that center on character and dialogue through a great script.
Overall I cannot recommend this movie enough.