5) Rama & Andi vs Mad Dog
- Rama, our hero. Played by Iko Uwais.
- Andi, Rama’s brother and long-time black sheep of the family. Rama didn’t know he’d be there until he saw the pre-mission intel, and came determined to bring him out alive. Though physically formidable he’s more of an administrative/brains-type guy of the villain’s operation, and having something of a conscience he’s done what he can to minimize unnecessary brutality. Played by Donny Alamsyah.
- Mad Dog, the crime lord’s top enforcer and the real physical threat of the movie (the villain Tama will, spoiler, soon be unceremoniously shot by Wahyu). One of the few characters in this movie whose name is more than four letters. Played by Yayan Ruhian.
The Setup: Fresh off their victory in the drug lab, the protagonists ascend up to Tama’s lair on the 15th floor. But on the way, Rama sees something that makes him stop and let the others move on without him: his brother, tied up in the center of a dank room, getting pounded like a sack of meat by Mad Dog. What Rama didn’t know until now is that Andi’s employer had discovered his aid of Rama, and has sicced Mad Dog on him as punishment/interrogation.
He wordlessly enters and stares down the villain. Mad Dog stops his slow torture of Andi, releases him from the ceiling-suspended chain and allows the brothers a brief reunion as he cranks up the winch he’d been suspending his target with. Then he approaches the two and gestures for them to step aside, positioning himself so that he’s directly between them.
Nobody needs to say anything, everyone knows what’s about to happen. Now, consider that Rama is still exhausted from his last three epic fights, and Andi has been stabbed through one hand and steadily beaten for a good while. Mad Dog, meanwhile, though he did have a nasty showdown with Jaka a while back, is fresher than either of them. On the other hand, there are two of them… but back on the first hand, this IS Mad Dog. So this is a lot less uneven than you’d think.
After a brief standoff, everybody gets down to business.
The Fight: Pure insanity. Emphasis on both words, because while the fight is certainly all kinds of crazy, it really is pure (well, nearly enough) in the sense that it is almost entirely unadorned by weapons, the environment, fancy tricks or outside interference. It’s just three warriors in a small room, trying very hard to kill each other.
It’s also of epic length: well over five minutes. That’s an eternity in fight scene time, especially in one that’s completely free of aforementioned adornment and has no changes of scenery. (There’s one brief cutaway early on to the Wahyu’s doings, but I’m not counting that towards this fight’s run time.) If the Jaka/Mad Dog duel was a breathless sprint, this one is a grueling marathon.
As with many battles of its ilk, recapping the exact goings-on would be a fool’s errand. Suffice it to say that despite it basically being five minutes of the same thing over & over, this fight never gets boring, and in fact only gets better as it goes on. Somehow it keeps staying fresh and diverse.
Rama & Andi make an effective team, sometimes getting the better of Mad Dog individually and sometimes overwhelming him by their superior number (or one hitting him while he’s engaged with the other). Given the lightning-fast nature of the battle there’s obviously not much time for the brothers to plan out any teamwork, but they do have a few good moments of improvised cooperation. My favorite is probably when Rama flings Mad Dog about by his leg and a downed Andi adds to the throw’s force with a kick to the chest.
When Mad Dog gets back up and has to defend himself against both brothers attacking him head-on while slowly backing towards the door, Evans films it in a really striking head-on shot of Mad Dog where all you can see of the two heroes is their limbs. It’s where the still from the top of the article came from.
But the villain gives more than as good as he gets, several times managing to overpower the brothers even when they do combine their efforts. And most of the fight he only has to engage with one of them at a time, since he keeps putting each one down with such ferocity that they’re slow to rise and help the other.
After a while the intense & exciting music steadily grows more, as we can see Mad Dog slowly wearing out his two opponents. Andi goes down hard when he’s slammed stomach first into a large metal box (air-conditioning unit or some such, probably) and shortly after that Rama takes a dive when the villain flips him all the way over in the air– before he lands, he goes so high his feet smash into one of the ceiling’s long fluorescent light tubes. (This will be important shortly.)
With both his foes reduced to writhing on the ground in pain, Mad Dog makes the same face we saw him make earlier, just before he killed Jaka. Uh oh.
He decides to start with Rama, the more dangerous of the two and the one he’d been unsuccessfully hunting for most of the movie. As he pulls the hero up and lays hands on his neck, a dazed Andi sees a broken shard of fluorescent tube on the ground nearby. He crawls slowly to it, seizes it, pulls back Mad Dog’s head from behind and stabs him right in the side of the neck with it. Owwwwww….
Improbably, this only seems to make Mad Dog MORE angry. He drops Rama and beats Andi mercilessly, and even starts slamming his head into the floor. Rama tries to interrupt but he gets a beating too, and almost nearly takes a probably-fatal elbow to the chest before Andi jumps back in and blocks it.
This last bit of teamwork seems to have worn down Mad Dog enough (he may be losing blood from the stab wound) that Rama is able to get around him and put his arm in a lock so that he can break it with a swift hand strike. Without missing a beat, the hero glides back around to the other side and breaks the other.
With the villain now far less able to defend himself, Rama whips around and delivers a series of rapid-fire punches to Mad Dog’s chest. Then he spins him around and delivers a really hard knee to the chest, possibly breaking some more bones. That’s two snaps, a crackle AND a pop, I believe.
Mad Dog doesn’t have much time to worry about seeking medical attention, though, because Rama immediately slams him to the ground and holds him down by the shoulders. Andi crawls over and pins down his legs for good measure. Rama grabs the still-embedded (!) light bulb shard, and slowly drags it all the way across the villain’s twitching throat. It’s SO gross, but with a guy like Mad Dog you have to pull out all the stops. Hell, if I were them I’d go on to decapitate him, then cut his body into fifths and bury the pieces in separate continents. You know, just to be sure.
This is absolutely phenomenal. It may not be the best all-around fight in The Raid, but it’s exactly the kind of epic, adrenaline-soaked, balls-to-the-wall note this kind of movie needed to end with. If there is any true flaw it’s that the introduction of the bulb shard is a bit of a cheat, interrupting the purity of the fight. But it’s such a desperate struggle by then that it’s hard to begrudge the heroes for pulling out all the stops, and besides, Mad Dog still kicks their asses for a little while after the initial stabbing; they don’t actually kill him with it until he’s already pretty much lost anyway.
More than ever, you can really register the exhaustion and the desperation of the combatants. The quasi-realism the movie employs thus makes Mad Dog’s nearly superhuman ability to withstand punishment all the more impressive. A truly epic end to a truly epic movie. Gareth Evans, you are the chosen one.
Coming Attractions: BWAAAAAAAAAAAAMP