The Raid - Blu-ray and DVD

Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:00
Posted in Blu-Ray
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The Raid - on Blu-ray and DVDAn elite SWAT team breach a Jakartan tower block in a bid to bring down an untouchable drug lord and his lucrative manufacturing labs. Rival gangs and law enforcement squads have tried before, but nobody has ever made it out alive. Getting in seems easy, but then the alarm is sounded and the slick team’s careful planning goes to pot. Boxed in, out-gunned and with a bounty on their heads, the squad must adapt or die.

Directed by Welshman Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais, both of “Merantau Warrior” fame, the film borrows the best elements from classics such as “Assault on Precinct 13”, “Hardboiled” and “Die Hard” to present one of the toughest, most violent and exciting action movies of the decade. If you like movies with high body-counts, epic fight scenes and non-stop action, you will not want to miss out on “The Raid”.

Shot in Indonesia and featuring the same amazingly fluid and brutal Silat martial arts as seen in “Merantau Warrior”, this movie comes in two guises (Blu-ray only): a theatrical cut and an uncut ‘come on then if you are hard enough’ edition. I watched the latter and am convinced that the extra nine minutes of footage features more throat cutting, head slamming, face shooting and bone crushing than most other films in the genre put together!

Uwais has grown up a bit since his previous movie but he still looks baby-faced and so sweet he would not harm a fly. Of course, looks can be deceptive and once his back is up against the wall, his incredible kung fu skills come to the fore. Speed, agility, flying elbows and knees are his forte, and Rama - his character – is as quick-witted as he is lethal.

The film is bruising, breath-taking and exhausting to watch, not least because some of the fight scenes last five minutes without a break. Every time you fear the makers might be running out of ideas, a clever or tense set-piece helps to re-energise the viewer.

One prime example is when a bunch of cops are trapped in a room with a blood-thirsty bunch of armed gang members trying to bash or shoot down the door. Using an axe, Rama frantically hacks away at the wooden flooring in an attempt to create an impromptu escape route as the door starts to give way. In another, he hides behind a fake wall as an enraged machete-bearing hood stabs through it, probing for his foe. It is like a one-sided game of Battleships, only much pointier.

It is genuinely difficult to pick a single highlight when the film is so packed with great moments. There are a few pauses when the fairly meagre plot advances or embattled characters manage to take a breather before once more entering the fray. Then the tireless action starts up again and you wonder if you will be able to keep up.

The Blu-ray version lacks the super-fine levels of detail of some other home releases, but on the other hand it does a great job of rendering the darker scenes when it might otherwise be difficult to pick out drably-dressed policemen framed against crumbling, grey, concrete walls. The use of a ‘fig rig’ (a bit like a Hula-hoop with a camera in the middle) to capture the energy and chaos of the action works wonders, rather than risk sickening, shuddering hand-held footage or too detached and smooth Steadicam work.

The soundtrack collaboration by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and Joseph Trapanese (who worked with Daft Punk on “Tron: Legacy”) is a tremendous mix of grungy electronic sounds and riffs, thumping along to the fisticuffs.

The disc is jam-packed with special features, including:

Director’s commentary - Exclusive to UK disc

  • “The Raid” feature - original language with English subs
  • “The Raid” feature with English dub
  • US and original uncut version
  • Trailers
  • Video Blogs
  • Claycats: “The Raid”
  • “The Raid” Fan Films
  • Featurettes
  • Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese
  • An Evening with Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais

 

Although there is a lot of talking in some of the bonus content, the frankly bizarre (and even bloodier than the main feature) Claycats stop-motion re-enactment of the film and the video blogs (behind the scenes featurettes) make up for it. The music featurette is also of interest to anyone keen to know how soundtracks are sometimes built up layer-by-layer, rather than composed.

Fans will be pleased to hear that a sequel, “Berandal” is already in pre-production, with a possible third movie to draw the then trilogy to a satisfying, and no-doubt punishing conclusion.

“The Raid” (2011) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Momentum Pictures. The main feature has a running time of 110 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £17.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:10

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