The Raid: Redemption
It is difficult to understate the sheer intensity with which The Raid: Redemption hits. Jaw-dropping not in scale but in its frenetic choreography, Gareth Evans crafts an action picture that brought the fighting style of silat to the big screen, and simultaneously put Indonesian action cinema on the map. Originally slated to make what would become The Raid 2, Evans had to tighten his narrative lens for budgetary reasons. What emerged is lean, efficiently minimal storytelling that still manages to hint at the larger world expanded upon in the sequel (which is also well worth your time, but missed the cut on this list). Evans squeezes out pathos from protagonist Rama (Iko Uwais), before events unfold in a high rise in the slums of Indonesia, where the action barely relents for its entire 100-minute runtime. While I tried to find more academic ways to say it, it really boils down to the fact that The Raid: Redemption is a badass cut of action cinema that will repeatedly punch you in the gut with sledgehammer ferocity.