It's very rare for me to re-watch a film that's playing at a festival, but I did precisely that a few days ago -- and it was freaking fantastic. Not only did I get to moderate a quick Q&A between a giddy SXSW audience and three filmmakers (see photo), but I also got to revisit a stunning Indonesian import with a chorus of more than 1,100 people shrieking OOH and OUCH and WHOAAAA around me like a Greek chorus on a roller coaster. Yes, I could have gone to see a different flick, but this is a South By Southwest screening I'll remember for a very long time. The infectious fun of the flick simply poured into the massive old Paramount movie palace and swept everyone away. We all need more movie experiences like this.
(A slobby film critic called Weinberg (left) and a dapper filmmaker called Evans.)
Ah, but now you're worried about "overhype," aren't you? Pfft, I say. Yes, pfft. A great film is a great film, and The Raid: Redemption will not only reinvograte the Indonesian film industry; it will force every action-oriented filmmaker to raise his/her game. So it's a win all around. Gathered below are some fresh and original reactions from members of the press who recently saw the film (which opens at the end of this month) and had something like this to say...
"The Raid is an expertly crafted explosion of good old fashioned hand-to-hand-to-machete-to-fist-to-head-to-wall brilliance. It will go down as a milestone in modern action cinema and ass-kicking alike." -- Neil Miller, Film School Rejects
"The Raid is worthy every syllable of hype you've heard and probably more. Forget recent history, it's one of the most adrenaline-pumping, ass-kicking, badass action movies ever made." -- Peter Hall, Movies.com
"Are you allergic to ass-kicking? No? Then see this movie." -- William Goss, Film.com
"The Raid has already been declared the best action film in years - and it is, along with being one of the most engaging, vital, and exciting." -- Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
"Breaking News: Roof missing from Paramount Theatre. Blew away during The Raid." -- Peter Martin, Twitch
"Not only a triumph because it shows the most interesting ways to kick other people’s asses, but because it shows the most interesting ways to kick most other movies’ asses as well." -- Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist
"Bone-crunching, head-shooting, thigh-slashing mayhem." -- Eric D. Snider, Film.com
"The Raid is hands down the best big screen action movie you'll see on the big screen this year... unless either Hard Boiled or Die Hard is re-released." -- Eric Vespe, AICN
"It's an action lover's dream. The Raid will be a film you and your friends watch over and over again." -- J.C. DeLeon, Slackerwood
"It's hard to imagine seeing a better, burlier, brisker or brighter action film his year." -- James Rocchi, MSN Movies
"Seeing it in a theater feels like catching an early screening of Hard-Boiled or Enter The Dragon." -- Drew McWeeny, HitFix.com
"The second visit was even better. I could focus on the audience shrieking at the brilliantly-choreographed action mayhem on the screen." -- Scott Weinberg, FEARnet.com
Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption (official site) opens on 3/23 in NY, LA, DC, San Fran, and Chicago. 3/30 in more cities, and more after that.
(Thanks to Mike Saulters at Slackerwood for the photo!)