The Raid is an exception in many aspects. Films that are not manufactured in the States or other heartlands of movie productions and therefore don't get the media treatment from day 1, rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising. An action film originating from Indonesia normally gets lucky when an international distributor picks up the rights and releases it on the big markets. And even then, a catchy title or fancy artwork is mostly the thing that attracts the common video store visitors. The Raid however proves that the opposite is possible.
When The Expendables has the big names and the cool basic idea, The Raid has the guts to bring the goods to the table. Here, nothing gets toned down by a cool oneliner, no CGI overkill waters down the action or an act of heroic pathos saves the day in the last second. Instead, you get pure realism. The conflicts are dirty and gritty, the actions nasty. While fighting his enemies, our hero is surely no angel that hovers over their apparent barbarity. He too chooses actions that cause the viewer to raise his eyebrow once in a while. The repertoire includes punching, shooting, stabbing and bone breaking with reliable regularity. But he wouldn't win his duels otherwise. In this film, the fight for survival isn't an elegant ballet in slow motion but a captivating tour de force, a close combat battle where every measure is justified.
After Hollywood noticed that little movie, they didn't hesitate to acquire the rights. They seemed to see the potential, as well. And while other brutal melee movies hit the video stores almost every week, the plans for this film are different. Here, the international version got a new soundtrack by Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda and a US remake is in the works, too. Whether this is a good idea remains to be seen albeit it isn't exactly a new practice. Not long ago, the Spanish horror film [REC] prompted some American producers to make a more than redundant remake called Quarantine. It's probable that Gareth Evans, the Welsh director of the original, is most capable of doing such a convincing job once more. He not only discovered the main star Iko Uwais and made an earlier film with him called Merantau but also directed the official Indonesian sequel called Berandal, being the second film of a planned trilogy.
It was to be expected that the American ratings board MPAA did not like The Raid's gritty realistic take of violence. The international theatrical version is based on the R-Rated cut (for strong brutal bloody violence throughout, and language) and was shown in almost every country apart from Indonesia, including Germany and the UK. Therefore, it was interesting if those other markets would get to see the original uncut version from Indonesia, as well. And by now, we have gathered some facts. The US get it on the DVD and Blu-ray where it is labeled "Unrated" and the UK get the Blu-ray, which contains both versions. However, the British DVD only features the R-Rated version.
When looking at the censorship of the international version, it's surprising how moderate they are considering the mayhem that takes place in the film. All fights remain untouched and many scenes with explicit violence were no problem. It's a little puzzling as to why the MPAA picked out these two brief moments as being too much since headshots and knife use are all over the place in the rest of the movie.
Comparison between the international theatrical version / R-Rated and the Indonesian version (both featured on the British Blu-ray by Momentum Pictures).
2 cuts = 10.24 seconds
0:05:18: The second gangster falls entirely on the floor. After that, the close-up of the bloody headshot the third victim receives is missing. This is a simple cut in the international version.
0:48:34: The knife sticks longer in the goon's neck. Andi then pulls it out very slowly and looks almost disgusted while doing so.