‘The Raid’ a disappointing swoop into neo-noir territory

The Raid/2011/Sony Pictures Classics/100 min.

The central character of “The Raid” (Iko Uwais) aims to complete a SWAT team’s covert mission to remove a crime lord from a dilapidated apartment building in Jakarta. This is particularly challenging once their cover is blown, their leader (Joe Taslim) falls and they are trapped inside.

Fans of martial-arts action flicks might find this (and the Mike Shinoda/Joseph Trapanese score) good fun. The choreography of the fight scenes was top-notch. But I’d been hoping that a bit of intrigue and noir storytelling would be layered into the mix; instead “The Raid” was ridiculously, relentlessly, stupefyingly violent. Yawn.

Perhaps Welsh-born writer/director Gareth Evans (who teamed with Uwais on 2009’s “Merantau”) sums it up best: “I’m the guy that makes stunt performers take multiple kicks to the head for the pleasure of what I hope is a captivated audience. … I deal in blood and mayhem.”

“The Raid” opened in New York and LA on March 23.

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