This great late-night Friday action double-bill a couple of weeks back had to be abandoned in mid-screening. It was a sell-out then but has been moved to the main theatre and there are tickets still left.
Already being hailed as one of the best action films of the last decade after a handful of crowd-thrilling festival screenings, Welsh writer/director Gareth Evans’ martial arts blitzkrieg The Raid is a must-see for any self-respecting genre fan.
Time Out review of The Raid: Redemption
'What’s in a subtitle? In the case of The Raid: Redemption, very little. Renamed a few weeks ago to sidestep a copyright dispute, Gareth Evans’s relentless action thriller offers few opportunities for any of its cold-blooded characters to redeem themselves. In the slums of Jakarta, a merciless kingpin (Ray Sahetapy) has commandeered a tenement building and transformed it into his criminal sanctuary. Felons of all walks are welcome to lie low here, provided they can swing the rent. No cops dare enter this nest of murderers and thieves. Until, that is, an elite SWAT team is assembled to penetrate the structure and neutralize its inhabitants, floor by floor. Guess who’s holed up in the penthouse?
The scenario is so ingeniously simple that one could imagine even the lousiest of genre hacks milking it for a few good thrills. Evans, it turns out, is no hack. Expending mere minutes on setup, the Welsh-born director quickly strands his outnumbered police squad in high-rise hell. From here, The Raid proceeds like a lit fuse. The gunfights have a messy elegance—one suspenseful scene finds our heroes betraying their location in a pitch-black corridor with muzzle flare—but the adrenaline rush really kicks in when the machetes come out. (Martial-arts fanatics will recognize the frenetic throws and strikes of silat, the film’s amazing Indonesian fighting style.) The Raid only loses momentum in its homestretch, when the plot twists begin to outnumber the living characters. But by then, your heart may be grateful for the slackening pace.' A A Dowd
Here is the trailer.
Time Out review of Hard-Boiled:
'In essence, John Woo's characteristic take on movies like Die Hard: a supercharged thriller in which a renegade cop and an undercover man take on Triad gun-runners who store their munitions in a hospital morgue. Anyone who saw The Killer will have a fair idea what to expect, from the intense male bonding to the hyper-kinetic editing style. What's new here is a rich vein of anarchic humour (will they evacuate the maternity ward before the hospital blows up?) and a bluesy back-beat of philosophical musings on a cop's sad lot. No surprise that Woo (who cameos as a barman) has been courted by Hollywood.' Tony Rayns
Here is the trailer.