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Blu-ray Review: The Raid: Redemption
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The Raid: Redemption
Blu-ray I DVD
DIRECTOR: Gareth Evans
WRITER: Gareth Evans
STARRING: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy, Pierre Gruno, Ananda George, Verdi Solaiman, Iang Darmawan, Eka ‘Piranha’ Rahmadia, Tegar Satrya
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2012

They just don’t make action movies like they used to…or so it sometimes seems. Every once in a while one comes along that reminds us of that old school high-paced action we love so very much, and one such movie is The Raid: Redemption.

The movie consists of a simple premise: a team of elite cops sets off to an old run down 30-story apartment building to take out a deadly drug lord who runs the building with his men, while also allowing others to rent out rooms, usually to the city’s most dangerous criminals. The raid is supposed to go smoothly, but others have tried before and failed, and when word gets out that the squad is there, pure anarchy ensues. Now the cops are no longer fighting to complete their mission, but to escape the building alive.

The Raid: Redemption is a movie built for multiple types of action movie fan. It has crazy gun fights, knife fights, and fist fights, all of which are stunningly brutal. When someone is taken out, it’s ultra-realistic; writer and director Gareth Evans clearly wanted to make sure that your jaw would hit the floor on multiple occasions, and succeeded magnificently in this objective.

If you’re into old kung fu-style movies you’ll especially be pleased. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such extensively choreographed fight sequences in any other movie—to the point where some folks might even be overwhelmed by the amount of hand-to-hand combat involved—and a mixture of various martial arts styles were used. You can certainly see the heavy influence of Southeast Asian fighting styles, primarily silat, with a great deal of kicks and knees involved. But there’s also muay thai, judo, taekwondo, karate, straight up brawling, and more used.

The acting in The Raid can be a tad over-dramatic at times, but no one is expecting award-caliber performances from a movie like this. Everyone does a solid enough job to progress the story and get us to the next action scene, and that’s all I was looking for.

The Blu-ray automatically set me up for the English dubbed version of the movie, but if you have any respect for movies whatsoever, you’ll watch it in its original Indonesian language with English subtitles. As I said above, the performances aren’t spectacular. But when you take away the actor’s voice and replace it with someone sitting in a room somewhere, it can severely damage a movie. You won’t even notice you’re reading after a few minutes.

Another option you have is the movie’s original Indonesian score or a score put together by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese, who worked on the Tron: Legacy score with Daft Punk. I watched with the latter and it was fine that way, but I also checked out the original music as well, which was also solid.

The Raid: Redemption isn’t a movie for the faint of heart, but action movie junkies will get more than a sufficient fix from its relentless action, remarkable fight choreography, and intense premise.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There’s a bunch of special features to enjoy on the Blu-ray as well, which is always a selling point. Over 100 minutes of bonus goodies are offered to check out if the movie (somehow) isn’t enough for one sitting.

Behind the Scenes Video Blogs — A collection of smaller behind the scenes videos looking at various aspects of production, from bootcamp training and choreography to set design/construction and special effects work.

An Evening with Gareth Evans, Mike Shinoda & Joe Trapanese — A Q & A session with director Gareth Evans and composers Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese after a screening of the movie.

Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese — Just as it sounds, a look into the music created for the American release of The Raid by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese.

Anatomy of a Scene with Gareth Evans — A quickie bonus looking at a scene from a movie involving a hole in the floor used to try and escape a nasty situation.

In Conversation with Gareth Evans and Mike Shinoda — A conversation about The Raid with director Gareth Evans and composer Mike Shinoda.

Inside the Score — Basically a trailer consisting of shots from the movie, shots of Mike Shinoda working on the score, and critical praise.

Claycat’s The Raid — A short claymation remake of the movie.

The Raid TV Show Ad (circa 1994) — A spoof spot for the 1994 Japanese animated TV series version of The Raid.

Trailer

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