2011 **** (general rating) ***** (action movie rating)
50PageMcGee and I saw this when it was still showing in LA, and all I can really say is watch that trailer and know that every punch is a promise and every promise is kept. Like John Woo's Hard-Boiled or The Matrix, watching this movie feels like the action genre just gained something genuinely new, which is incredibly rare. For a good laugh, check out the full cast and crew list on imdb. Most of it is broken down as "drug's lab guard #1, drug's lab guard #2" and so on, all the way up to twenty. If you like clown cars but wish instead that the car is a twenty-foot length of hallway and the clowns are knife-wielding maniacs, your day has come. I urge any fan of over-the-top mayhem to check this one out.
Director Gareth Evans is Welsch, but has apparently made it his mission to popularize the Indonesian martial art silat, the formal name for the ass-kicking you see above (not the part with the guns, obviously). I was so impressed by The Raid I Netflixed Merantau, Gareth Evans's earlier valentine to silat, which even stars some of the same asskickers. Unfortunately I do NOT recommend it. It's a decent first effort and there are good fight scenes, but it's pretty boilerplate fare and at times quite slow and annoying. Skip it and go straight to The Raid.
Punch punch whack!