Indonesian special tactics officer Rama prays, practices silat and bids goodbye to his father and wife, who is pregnant with his child. He cryptically promises his father he will "bring him home." Rama joins a heavily armed 20-man elite police squad, including Officers Bowo and Dagu, Sergeant Jaka, and Lieutenant Wahyu, for a raid on a high-rise apartment block in Jakarta's slums. The team intends to capture crime lord Tama Riyadi, who, along with his two lieutenants Andi and Mad Dog, owns the block and lets criminals and junkies around the city rent rooms under his protection. Arriving undetected, the team sweeps the first floors and subdues various criminal tenants; they also temporarily detain an innocent, law-abiding tenant delivering medicine to his sick wife in apartment #726. Continuing undetected to the sixth floor, the team is spotted by a young lookout, who passes on the message to another adolescent lookout just before he is shot dead by Lt. Wahyu; the latter youth raises the alarm.
Tama calls down reinforcements and the SWAT team are brutally attacked. Thugs snipe two officers guarding the perimeter, eliminate two more in the SWAT van, and ambush several officers patrolling the first five floors. Cutting the lights, Tama announces over the PA system that the police are trapped on the sixth-floor stairwell, and he will grant free permanent residence to those who kill the intruders. In the darkness, the remaining team members are ambushed by shooters from above and behind, and the team is almost completely wiped out. Prior to the gunfight, Lt. Wahyu confesses to Jaka he has staged the mission so he can eliminate Tama, who is in league with many corrupt police officers, including himself. The mission is not officially sanctioned by the police command; nobody at HQ knows their location and thus there is no hope for reinforcements.
The remaining officers retreat into an empty apartment only to be cornered by more armed henchmen. To create an escape route, Rama uses an axe to cut a hole in the floor so that the team can descend to the lower level. Dropping to the room below, the SWAT team once again struggles to fend off Tama's horde of thugs and Officer Bowo is critically injured in the process. In a last-ditch effort to defend his team, Rama uses a stove propane tank to construct an improvised explosive device that successfully eliminates the invading henchmen, giving the officers a small window of time. With more of Tama's reinforcements approaching, the team splits into two groups: Jaka, Lt. Wahyu, and Dagu retreat to the fifth floor, while Rama and a critically injured Bowo ascend to the seventh in search of the law-abiding tenant they encountered earlier.
After fighting through a handful of goons on their way to apartment 726, Rama and Bowo plead with the tenant for help, and despite his sick wife's protest, Gofar reluctantly hides the officers in his apartment. Four machete-wielding thugs arrive and ransack the man's apartment, but fail to find Rama and Bowo. After tending to Bowo's wounds, Rama leaves him with the couple so that he can focus on searching for Jaka's group; however, he crosses paths again with the machete gang. Rama manages to defeat the group, including their leader, whom he uses to smash through a window and cushion a three story plummet onto a fire escape below. He then continues his search, only to be confronted by Andi, who has just murdered two of Tama's thugs in the elevator. Rama and Andi are revealed to be estranged brothers, and Rama signed up for the mission to search for him, at the urging of their father. Rama refuses to leave the building without his comrades, and Andi refuses to abandon his auspicious criminal life. Rama reluctantly accepts Andi's decision and parts with him in order to search for his remaining team members.
Meanwhile, Mad Dog and a squad of his thugs discover where Jaka and his group are hiding. A brief scuffle occurs which ends up splitting the SWAT team even further—the thugs pursue Lt. Wahyu and Dagu while Jaka is left at Mad Dog's gunpoint. Instead of shooting him, Mad Dog challenges Jaka to a hand-to-hand fight which he ultimately wins before proceeding to snap Jaka's neck, killing him. Mad Dog subsequently meets up with Andi to report back to Tama in the surveillance room. Tama, having learned of Andi's treachery, incapacitates Andi and hands him over to Mad Dog for torture and execution.
Rama regroups with Lt. Wahyu and Dagu, who go on to fight through a narcotics lab, and they head for Tama on the 15th floor. Along the way, Rama discovers a room where Mad Dog is torturing Andi, causing him to separate from Lt. Wahyu and Dagu. Mad Dog allows Rama to free Andi and fights both brothers simultaneously. Mad Dog initially has the upper hand, but the brothers prove to be a match for him when working together. After an intense and grueling fight, Rama finally kills Mad Dog with Andi's help.
Meanwhile, Lt. Wahyu and Dagu confront Tama after managing to kill off his remaining henchman. Upon arresting Tama, however, Lt. Wahyu ends up betraying Dagu by shooting him dead before taking Tama hostage; intending to use him as a shield to escape. When the duo encounter Rama and Andi on the verge of leaving the building, Tama taunts Lt. Wahyu by revealing that he had been waiting for the team before the raid began and that Lt. Wahyu was set up by his corrupt higher-ups; also indicating that he will be killed regardless of escaping. In despair, Lt. Wahyu kills Tama and attempts suicide, only to find that he has no bullets left.
Andi uses his influence over the tenants to allow Rama to leave with Bowo and a detained Lt. Wahyu. The tenant who protected Bowo watches from a window and grins with delight. Andi also hands over numerous blackmail recordings Tama made of corrupt officers taking bribes, hoping that Rama can use them to his benefit. Rama asks Andi to come home, but Andi refuses, due to his acclimation to his criminal lifestyle. Before Rama leaves, Andi asserts he can protect Rama in his role as a gang lord, but that Rama could not do the same for him. Andi turns around and walks back to the apartment block with a grin that breaks into a wide smile, while Rama, along with Lt. Wahyu and an injured Bowo, exits to an uncertain future.
Following Merantau, Gareth Evans and his producers began work on a silat movie project called Berandal (Indonesian for Thugs), a large-scale prison gang movie intended to star not only Merantau actors Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian but also an additional pair of international fight stars. A teaser trailer was shot, but the project proved more complex and time consuming than anticipated. After a year and a half, Evans and the producers found themselves with insufficient funds to produce Berandal, so they changed the film to a simpler but different story with a smaller budget. They called the project Serbuan Maut (The Raid). Producer Ario Sagantoro considers the film to be lighter than Merantau. Gareth Evans also considers it to be "a lot more streamlined," stating that "Merantau is more of a drama" while The Raid is more of a "survival horror film."
Pre-production took about four months, which include finalization of the script (which included translation of the original English-language script into Indonesian) and the work on choreography for the fighting sequences, which were designed by Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. The actors that make up the key members of the police squad were sent to bootcamp military training with KOPASKA, where they learned how to use weapons, and how to perform strategic attack and defense techniques. Filming began in March 2011. The Raid was shot with a Panasonic AF100.
All guns used in the film were Airsoft replicas, to avoid the costs associated with having to deal with firearms. All the shots of the guns' actions cycling, muzzle flashes and cases ejecting were added digitally.
While the film was still in production, in May 2011, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired the distribution rights of the film for the U.S. and tasked Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Joseph Trapanese to create a new score for U.S. market. The film premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival with the original score from the Indonesian version which was composed by Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemal, who also composed Evans's previous film, Merantau. The Raid made its debut in the U.S. with Trapanese and Shinoda's version at Sundance 2012.
On his blog, Shinoda stated that his score was over 50 minutes and almost all instrumental. After film production, he had room for two more songs, but did not want to sing or rap, so he posted pictures of two music artists. Deftones/††† frontman Chino Moreno guest performed "RAZORS.OUT", which was leaked online on 16 March 2012, as rap group Get Busy Committee performed "SUICIDE MUSIC" for the film.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired the film's distribution rights for the U.S., revised the music score and had the title changed to The Raid: Redemption. Distribution rights for other were also sold, including to Alliance (Canada), Momentum (United Kingdom), Madman (Australia), SND (France), Kadokawa (Japan), Koch (Germany), HGC (China), and Calinos (Turkey). Deals were also made with distributors from Russia, Scandinavia, Benelux, Iceland, Italy, Latin America, Korea and India during the film screening at the TIFF.
Reviews were highly positive. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 85% based on reviews from 143 critics, with an average score of 7.5/10. The website's consensus was "No frills and all thrills, The Raid: Redemption is an inventive action film expertly paced and edited for maximum entertainment."
Roger Ebert gave the film a single star out of four; he criticized the lack of character depth, and noted that "the Welsh director, Gareth Evans, knows there's a fanboy audience for his formula, in which special effects amp up the mayhem in senseless carnage." Ebert was himself criticized for this assessment of the film, and he later published a defense of his review.
In its Sony Pictures Classics debut in the United States and Canada on 23–25 March 2012, The Raid: Redemption grossed $220,937 from 24 theaters for a location average of $15,781. For its widest opening release weekend in the United States and Canada on 13–15 April 2012, the film grossed $961,454 from 881 theaters, and ranked 11th overall. In the United Kingdom, the film grossed $660,910 on its opening weekend. In Indonesia, approximately 250,000 people watched the film in the first four days of release, and it was considered a great turnout for a country that only has about 660 theater screens nationwide. As of 8 July 2012, the film has grossed $4,105,123 in North America. The film grossed approximately $9.1 million worldwide.
The film received numerous awards and nominations both from local and international institutions. At the 2012 Maya Awards, which is dubbed by local media as the Indonesian version of the Golden Globes, the film received 10 nominations. The Raid: Redemption did not receive any nominations at the 2012 Citra Awards (the Indonesian equivalent to the Academy Awards); which was considered a snub.
A few months after Sony acquired the film's North American distribution rights, it was announced by The Hollywood Reporter that its subsidiary company, Screen Gems, had begun negotiations to produce a Hollywood remake. The deal was completed in November 2011, with writer-director Gareth Evans to serve as an executive producer of the remake. XYZ Films, executive producers on the original Indonesian version, will be producers on the American version. Screen Gems also wants the same choreographers from The Raid involved with the remake. On 21 February 2014, the studio picked Patrick Hughes to direct the remake. On 22 February 2014, reports stated that both Chris and Liam Hemsworth were being eyed for roles by the studio. On 27 May 2014, Variety reported that the film's production was delayed until early 2015. On 13 June 2014, Frank Grillo was the first to be announced to star in the remake, and is a fan of the original. On 16 June 2014, Geek Tyrant revealed that the remake will be set in the near future. On 4 August 2014, The Wrap reported that Taylor Kitsch has been cast in the lead role, and also that XYZ Films is returning to produce the remake, which is expected to hew closely to the original film. On August 22, 2014, Hughes revealed that describes his version as being in the vein of Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty with 12 integral roles . According to Tracking Board, on October 23, 2015, both Screen Gems and Kitsch had dropped out of the project and Hughes also dropped out as director. In February 2017, XYZ Films revealed that Joe Carnahan will produce and direct the remake with Evans as a producer.
While developing The Raid in script form, Evans started to toy around with the idea of creating a link between it and his initial project, Berandal. It was later confirmed that Berandal would serve as a sequel to The Raid. Evans has also stated his intention to make a trilogy.
Sony pre-bought U.S., Latin American and Spanish rights to the sequel. Alliance/Momentum pre-bought for the United Kingdom and Canada; Koch Media acquired the film for German speaking territories; Korea Screen pre-bought for Korea; and HGC pre-bought for China. Deals for other major territories were also in negotiations.
Titled Berandal for the Indonesian market and as The Raid 2 for U.S. market, the sequel had a "significantly larger" budget than its predecessor, and its shooting schedule included approximately 100 days of physical production. Pre-production began in September 2012 while filming began in January 2013.
A comic book based on The Raid was released on 21 May 2012. A stop-motion sixty second video depicting the plot of The Raid using cats made out of clay made by Lee Hardcastle was included in the special features disk.