Let's get the plot out of the way on this one: SWAT team launches a raid on an apartment building controlled by the most feared criminal boss in town. Apartment is full of other criminals hiding out from cops, because nobody, including cops, goes near this place.
SWAT goes in, bad guys get alerted, bullets fly, lots of people die. Not so many cops anymore.
Yah, van full of cannon fodder. 5 cops left. One of who is Iko Uwais is one of them.
Iko Uwais is a Silat martial artist - a relatively unknown Indonesian fighting method that is all kicks, punches, elbows, knees, and a bunch of close-combat damage.
There, you can largely fill in the rest.
This movie is pretty much 80 minutes of kick-ass with 10 minutes of moving the plot along. There's no "six-feet-of-air" punches, or bouncy-castle fighting. Close-ups of fists to faces, knees to heads, and general mayhem in a confined space caused a theatre full of aficionados of these kind of films to let out the grunts and groans that go with watching someone get their ass kicked in a monumental fashion.
One guy armed with a knife and nightstick vs 20 in a hallway. No problem. Same guy, unarmed, vs 6 guys with machetes? A bit tougher, but a quick rest will fix what ails ya. A mad-dog killer who drops his weapons to fight the captain of the force fist-to-fist? A valiant effort. That same killer then facing off against two good guys (well, 1.5 good guys)? Well, when two of the combatants involved are the fight choreographers, you know it's gonna be good. Hell, the participants are all evenly beat up already to make the 2-on-1 battle a believable contest. There might be a few more battles in there, and a fair bit of pain.
If you're the type that likes watching people kick all kinds of ass in innovative ways, then you're the type that likes this movie. Also, it's actually good. There's no "so bad it's good" cheesiness, or guffaw-worthy moments. It's a fairly pure and straightforward piece of violence. Hell of a way to kick off my fest.