THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2011) BLU-RAY REVIEW – BEATS THE HELL OUT OF THE HYPE AND ASKS “WHO’S NEXT?!”

 
Rama Iko Uwais
Jaka Joe Taslim
Mad Dog Yayan Ruhian
 
Written and directed by Gareth Evans. In Indonesian, with English subtitles.
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
 
 

THE FLICK:

 
The last time I saw an official game-changer when it came to action films was THE KILLER (1989). Under the direction of John Woo, there was an incredible dance of controlled chaos that surrounded every moment of action. Chow Yun-Phat put everything he had into each pull of the trigger, never desperate, always full of intent. THE RAID: REDEMPTION is a game-changer. It is a visceral, emotional fight down to the last man. It not only lives up to the hype, but it takes the hype, beats the hell out of it and asks “who’s next?!”

 

 

They wait just outside of the apartment building like snakes ready to strike. A team of 20 elite officers sent to take down the notorious crime lord Tama Riyandi (Ray Sahetapy), with some better prepared than others to go face-to-face with a brutal hell of bullets and fists. Tamai is an eerily calm killer with a watchful eye on every floor and a group of gangsters ready to carry out his orders to protect the building at all costs… buckle up, Bastards, because this shit is about to get bloody real quick.

 

 

The story belongs to highly skilled Officer Rama (Iko Uwais) as he ultimately faces a choice: Fight your way up to kill Tama and rescue whoever you can, or fight your way down to escape. Either way is dangerous, but only one of those ways is battling through hell itself with an onslaught of guns, knives, fists, feet, and more evil henchmen than you could imagine.

 

 

Using a rarely seen form of martial arts called Silat, Uwais puts on one of the most impressive displays of skill and speed I have seen on film (you get a sense of how quick he is early in the film as he works a heavy bag). He is a blunt instrument of fury and precision. The first thing I said after the credits was that Uwais was so tough I felt like I had to check for bruises, I wanted to go smile in a mirror and make sure I had all of my teeth in place. THE RAID: REDEMPTION is that tough. It has one epic fight after another and, while battling the lead henchman Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian), Uwais and the others execute one of the most incredible fight scenes I have ever seen. These punches hurt, the contact looks real, and it is nearly non-stop for 101 minutes. It only pauses for discussions of engagement and planning.

 

 

I have not seen the other two films directed by Gareth Evans so I can’t talk about where he came from versus what he’s done with THE RAID, but what I can tell you is this guy is going to be a force. You don’t make something like this and disappear into safe films. You can’t direct this type of film and then be swallowed by mediocrity. You come back, check for a pulse and get the job done. It is so well shot and planned, so economic in its use of space. Cinematographer Matt Flannery should also get a lot of credit for his compelling work here, he has used this environment and taken advantage of the claustrophobic hallways in ways I didn’t think possible. Impressive considering this, like Gareth Evens, is only his third film. I have been worried about action films for a while, there wasn’t anything to really write about that took the genre by storm and set new rules… until now.
 

IMAGE/SOUND:

 

This a dirty, gritty film. If you are looking for a Blu-ray to showcase how amazing your plasma looks, this ain’t it. The entire film is visually very dark, it looks good and is very clear considering how it is shot. Sound wise the English language track leaves a lot to be desired but the indonesean track will knock the hell out of your eardrums in the best way possible despite only being on 5.1 instead of a 7.1 DTS track. I had this thing cranked and it delivered the goods. It helps when you have one of the best soundtracks of the year.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

 

Commentary with director Gareth Evans – This is a really well done commentary track with little dead space. Evans goes into great detail about his biography and breaks down all the key components of THE RAID.
 
Behind the Scenes Video Blogs – Want to see them block and plan the fight scenes? This is your joint.
 
An Evening with Gareth Evans, Mike Shinoda & Joe Trapanese — A Q & A session with director Gareth Evans and composers Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese. Kind of boring to be honest.
 
Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese
 
Anatomy of a Scene with Gareth Evans
 
In Conversation with Gareth Evans and Mike Shinoda
 
Inside the Score
 
Claycat’s The Raid — A short claymation remake of the movie which is all kinds of cool.
 
The Raid TV Show Ad (circa 1994) — A spoof spot for the 1994 Japanese animated TV series version of The Raid. Fucking hilarious.

 

THE VERDICT: BUY THIS GOOD SHIT!

 

 

SEE YOU ON FORTY DEUCE,

 
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