Locked Up–Gareth Evans’ The Raid takes to comics with more Iko Uwais martial arts action

Review by C.J. Bunce

The films were part Assault on Precinct 13, part Attack the Block, and all a showcase of the skill of world-famous Indonesian Pencak Silat martial artist Iko Uwais.  Long before he starred in Netflix’s Wu Assassins, Uwais had his breakout role in 2011 in The Raid as Rama, a rookie special forces squad member on an impossible mission to clear out a drug lord from a high-rise apartment complex in a Jakarta slum (with this film Uwais literally went from telephone system installer to international action star).  So successful on the film festival circuit was director Gareth Evans’ The Raid (renamed The Raid: Redemption in the U.S.) that Uwais and Evans returned to take Rama undercover in a sequel, The Raid 2, in 2014.  Fans of Uwais and the films can now follow Rama take his character back undercover in Titan Comics’ graphic novel, The Raid: Locked Up, a wall-to-wall martial arts action feast for the eyes.

Translated for this edition from its original Bahasa Indonesian language, the story takes readers back to the events of The Raid 2.  Rama is undercover in prison, when he learns he must protect a new prisoner about to be killed at the direction of a local mob boss.  Writers Ollie Masters and Alex Paknadel believably adapt Evans’ characters from the films, and artists Budi Setiawan and Brad Simpson join to re-create the ugly shadow world of Jakarta.  Importantly for this kind of book, the artists were able to adapt the looks of the actors behind the characters in each panel.

The choreography is nearly as good as anything in the films.  The layouts add some great fun, with inserts of overhead shots, and camera angles tilted much like the documentary style cinematography from the movies.  We even get some back story on two great characters brought into the second film, Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man.  You can almost see Quentin Tarantino kicking himself for not making his Kill Bill movies more like this book.

This edition includes cover art variants from the original single issue series created by Ben Oliver, Claudio Ianniciello, Roy Allan Martinez, Rhoald Marcellius, John McCrea, and Budi Setiawan, along with photo covers, several pages of concept artwork, and a foreword by Gareth Evans.

Courtesy of Titan Comics (not for young kids because of profanity and violence) here is a look inside the graphic novel The Raid: Locked Up:

Order the graphic novel The Raid: Locked Up now from Elite Comics or your local comic store, or grab it here at Amazon.  It will satisfy your need to see some in-your-face action until Iko Uwais returns in his next project: he’s a martial arts master in the reboot G.I. Joe movie: G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes, due out later this year or next year.

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