I’m sure almost every movie buff in the world has already heard of Gareth Evans‘ impressive action film The Raid: Redemption, but having seen the film countless times in theaters and now twice on Blu-Ray, I think it’s worth reminding everyone just how good the film really is.
The Raid: Redemption is without a doubt the best action film of the last decade and maybe one of the best action films of all time. Evans scripts the film light and keeps the action heavy and coming at you every single pulse-pounding second from beginning to end. It puts Jackie Chan to shame and almost blows Tony Jaa out of the water. If you want to watch one of the most expertly filmed martial arts movies that also contains an even serving of gunfire and blood splatter then look no further. The Raid: Redemption has it all and more.
Rama (Iko Uwais) is part of a SWAT team that raids the building of a very powerful drug lord that most cops wouldn’t even think about bringing down. He knew the risks when he signed up, but yet he still chose to leave his pregnant wife at home and head out into the bloody unknown. The Raid: Redemption proposes a fairly straight-forward plot, yet it still tries to squeeze in a few expected turns to keep your thinking and enjoyment levels on the same page.
The Raid: Redemption actually plays out like a video game. As the SWAT team ascends each floor they are met with stronger foes and even tougher bosses. It’s not just an example of escapism cinema though, The Raid: Redemption never gets dumb or becomes too far-fetched. It consistently plays within its own realm of possibility and in doing so makes for one hell of a show.
Fans of Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa owe it to themselves to watch this one, because it mixes and mingles with similar fighting styles and filming techniques, while also amping up the energy and creativity. The entire scenario of the film sounds like a perfect film for any lover of blood and broken bones and it pleases me to tell you that it simply pays off in an effective manner that will probably surprise you and your friends.
Director Gareth Evans deserves most of the credit though, because he also wrote the script, which is a vital piece to this drug and family-laced puzzle. The Raid: Redemption does have a few plot elements that feel a little over-used and expected, but the direction Evans takes the film is what makes up for the film’s minor problems. And I most certainly mean minor problems, because aside from a few scuffs the film is mostly perfect.
The fast-paced action is delivered via extensive fist/feet fights and very tight and up close gun play. Evans knows how to blow your mind away with some fighting choreography that’ll have you rewinding and replaying over and over, but he’s also no stranger to filming bullets. The shooting takes up most of the first section of the film and almost every scene is deliberately planned out for a stylistic approach that elevates the tension and increases the quality of the overall film.
If I had one complaint with the film it would be that it eventually ended. I left the theater wanting to instantly watch it again and that is usually a sign of a damn fine film.
Surprisingly Sony has delivered The Raid: Redemption to Blu-Ray with a faulty 1080p video transfer that darkens up the atmosphere and restricts the clarity. It’s most likely an intentional choice, but it really does keep the film from reaching its full visual potential. I guess the dampened grey’s and splotchy black levels resemble the mood of the film, but I was hoping for something as stellar as the film itself.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is just a hint better, but still doesn’t impress like I would have wanted. Bullets fly around all channels and dialogue is whispered and screamed out of the front channels, but the film never fully comes to life and explodes off of the screen and into your face. There’s plenty of bone-crunching and blood-spraying, but the feeling of actually getting kicked in the face is absent from this audio track.
The film comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary
- Behind the Scenes Video Blog (HD)
- An Evening with Gareth Evans, Mike Shinoda & Joe Trapanese (HD)
- Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese (HD)
- Anatomy of a Scene with Gareth Evans (HD)
- In Conversation with Gareth Evans and Mike Shinoda (HD)
- Inside the Score (HD)
- Claycat’s The Raid (HD)
- The Raid TV Show ad (circa 1994) (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Sony Previews (HD)
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
Setting aside the disappointing video transfer and slightly average audio track, The Raid: Redemption is simply one of the best films of 2012. I’ve got it ranked at number three on my personal list, but I’ve seen many others put it as number one. It deserves the praise and it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. It got an extended theatrical run a while back, but that mostly got the people that already planned on seeing it to see it at their local megaplex. There’s still a whole ocean of untapped viewers that need to hunt this film down and watch it with their buddies. You’ll love it, I promise.
The Raid: Redemption is simply the best action movie of the last decade. Director Gareth Evans films the combat with a trained eye to maximize the intensity and entertainment. There's plenty of hand-to-hand action as well as gunfire, which should please just about any action fan in the world. In fact, the only downside to this package is the lackluster video transfer and the disappointing audio track.