The Raid and its sequel are two of the greatest action movies ever made. Not only are they intense due to their dark atmosphere and brutal violence, but the complex fight sequences showcase the grace and extreme discipline of the actors’ martial arts prowess.
As good as they are, they are still only two films. What if one desires more intense action? Fortunately, this list has those people covered, as the upcoming ten films are must-sees for anyone who likes Gareth Evan’s Indonesian action capers.
While not all of the recommended movies are classified as action, they all share at least one thing with The Raid, whether it be fighting, violence, or overall tension.
10 Punisher: War Zone
One of the greatest travesties in box office history is just how badly Punisher: War Zone flopped. It made $10 million dollars off a $35 million dollar budget. The R-rating and insufficient marketing campaign severely limited its potential.
Those who did see it received one of the most violent comic book adaptations put to film. Lexi Alexander filmed the titular character as an unstoppable force whose humanity had mostly since vanished, and Ray Stevenson convincingly comes off as a tank, standing at six feet and three inches.
9 The Night Comes For Us
The Night Comes for Us also hails from Indonesia, and audiences outside that country can easily access it through Netflix. Joe Taslim stars as a criminal who decides to go against his employer’s orders and protect the life of a little girl.
The decision kicks off a blood-soaked night as his bosses send people to hunt him down. Audiences will recognize Joe as Sergeant Jaka from The Raid. In this, he gets more time in the spotlight to show off his abilities. The west will see more of Joe soon; he was recently cast as Sub-Zero in the upcoming Mortal Kombat film.
8 The Matrix
What is there to say about The Matrix that hasn’t already been said? Released in 1999, it was the ideal film to close out the millennium with its perfect balance of hand-to-hand battles and intense shootouts.
Its bombastic set-pieces still look convincing today, and the concept behind it all is fascinating. The sequels didn’t fare as well with audiences, but their mixed reception did nothing to tarnish the first one’s legacy. It is certainly not as violent as most of the other films on this list, but the fast-paced fisticuffs should still get hearts racing.
Headshot comes from the same director as The Night Comes for Us. Iko Uwais, star of The Raid, finds himself in a bit of a Jason Borne situation, washed up on the beach with no memory. He has no time to remember, as bad guys soon start hunting him down.
Throughout his action-filled journey, Ishmael slowly discovers his true identity and learns about the organization that employed him. It is probably the weakest of the Indonesian films listed, due to an overly drawn-out finale, but it is a worthwhile watch none the less.
6 District 13
David Belle is a pioneer of parkour, and his skills are on full display in the French action film District 13. From the same director as Taken, the action takes place in a cordoned-off city slum as the protagonist tries to save his sister from a drug kingpin.
The sequel is just as exciting, with a more lighthearted tone. An American remake, Brick Mansions, came out in 2013 and was the last film Paul Walker made before his tragic passing.
A cop is trapped in a high rise building crawling with lowlife criminals. While this vague plot description fits The Raid, it is also the synopsis for Dredd. This isn’t a case of plagiarism, however, as Dredd distinguishes itself with its unique dystopian future.
Like The Raid, it is ultra-violent, with people meeting their maker in extremely gruesome fashions. Lena Headey plays the antagonist, a drug kingpin with an intimidating facial scar.
4 Hard Boiled
John Woo’s Hong Kong action romps are legendary displays of film making. Actors and stuntmen risked life and limb to film these impressive set pieces. Hard Boiled opens with a haphazard gunfight in a restaurant, and its final act is a huge battle that turns a hospital into a war zone.
Chow Yun-Fat’s Detective Tequila is one of the coolest action heroes to ever grace screens. Released in 1992, everything on screen utilizes practical effects while the stunts are as real as they can get, giving even the most ridiculous set pieces a sense of weight and realism.
3 John Wick
In the age of superheroes and science fiction CGI spectacles, John Wick brings it all back home. While the titular character has seemingly superhuman abilities, the story is a classic tale set in the criminal underworld.
Audiences came for the promise of great action and were surprised by the unique world emphasizing an organization of hitmen with their own code and rules. The sequels upped the ante even further, and a fourth film is probably going to happen, too. Reeves is over fifty years old but still churns out amazing performances.
Merantau was Gareth Evan’s first Indonesian film. It stars Iko Uwais as he tries to save a young woman from kidnappers. It distinguishes itself from Iko’s other movies by being more grounded.
The stunts and choreography on display are still breathtaking, but the body count is lower, and people usually don’t die in spectacularly violent ways. Yayan Ruhian, who played Mad Dog in The Raid, also shows up in a more clean-shaven appearance.
Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage is far from an action film, but it is more violent than most of the other entries. Every second is brimming with tension, as a war between Yakuza gangs breaks out. The rival syndicates maim and kill each other in imaginatively violent ways.
Kitano set out to make an entertaining story and succeeded in spades. The director’s prior works are slower, more meditative, and less accessible, but this one moves along at a brisk pace. Given Outrage‘s brutality, it is hard to believe the director started his career as a comedian. The organized crime plot makes it a must-see for those who are more partial to The Raid 2.
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