Rating: 3 stars
SUNDANCE • Like a shotgun blast to the face, Gareth Evans’ martial arts extravaganza, “The Raid,” explodes on Sundance screens this week with a bone-crunching punch.
A group of Indonesian SWAT officers raid a broken-down building controlled by a drug lord and encounter more than they bargained for. The rattling machine guns and swift kicks to the face overwhelm every scene and hide the razor-thin plot, but Evans demonstrates a keen cinematic eye in how he stages the action. And star Iko Uwais shows he’s just as limber but much more charismatic than the similarly built Tony Jaa (“Ong Bak”).
“The Raid” is a rousing and welcome step away from the festival’s usual independent flair.