Greatest action movie of all time | Sunday Observer

Greatest action movie of all time

15 January, 2023

When conversing about this topic, ‘The Raid’ is hardly mentioned. It’s one of those cult classic sleeper hits that had little to moderate success at the box office, but as the years passed, word of mouth allowed people to discover it. Whenever I meet an action junkie, I always recommend this movie because it’s such a visceral action masterclass.

Lights, camera, action!

Gareth Evans, a film director, wanted to explore Pencak silat, a type of martial art that is embedded deep in Indonesian history. He travelled to Indonesia with the intention of making a documentary, but upon meeting Iko Uwais, a Pencak silat practitioner, Gareth decided to put a hold on the documentary. He brought Iko under his umbrella, and cast him in an action movie titled “Merantau”.


Starring Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, this film was a character-driven action movie that took about 45 minutes into the runtime to finally display some action. Fans wanted more fight setpieces, with even more chaos, so Gareth went on to cast the two main leads from Merantau in his next feature movie, ‘Berandal’ (translates to “Thugs” in Indonesian), with the intent of improving upon Merantau’s concept while adhering to the criticism. Berandal was going to be a Silat-focused blockbuster movie based in prison starring not only Yayan and Iko but also a couple of internationally famed stars, Unfortunately, as Gareth couldn’t conjure up any funds to back the movie, he scrapped the big ideas he had and wrote a more streamlined story that would require less money to make. This movie was titled ‘Serbuan Maut’ (‘The Raid’).

All the fight sequences were choreographed and designed by Iko and Yahan, who are both extremely proficient at Pencak silat. Gareth bumped up the pace of The Raid by quite a lot, with less character development and more action sequences.

Filming concluded a while later and although Gareth wanted an 85-minute cut, the final movie was around a hundred.

The plot revolves around a 20-man squad that tries to infiltrate crime lord Tama Riyadi’s headquarters quietly. However, things soon go south when he becomes aware of their presence and the non-stop havoc begins.

Iko stars as a new member of the special forces team who infiltrates the crime lord’s headquarters, with Yayan co-starring as ‘Mad Dog’, the main antagonist’s right-hand man. The two cross paths multiple times throughout the movie, and finally engage in a 2 versus 1 brawl at the very end. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say the ending was a very cut-throat altercation.


There is a ton of weight behind every punch and kick in this movie. The fighting techniques involved in Pencak Silat plus a Fig Rig (a camera stabilization device) allowed Gareth to film every fight scene with the utmost efficiency. The Fig Rig granted more mobility for the cameraman, which meant that hits could be amplified from certain angles.