Blu-ray Review: The Raid [MA15]

Dir: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Pierre Gruno, Tegar Satrya, Ray Sahetapy

The Film: The Raid is a film right up my alley, a mixture of action/martial arts/horror/thriller are all the elements that really make me tick as a film fan. There had been nothing but positive reviews and word of mouth, with high expectations to be had.

I am happy to say that despite my huge expectations, the film exceeded them and then some! Not only is this a crazy film that does not let up from beginning to end but it is extremely well made, in every which way. The script and direction from Gareth Evans is top notch, this man knows exactly what he is doing. Every shot is set up with precision, every movement is choreographed perfectly, the dialogue is minimal but when the characters have something to say it makes you sit up and pay attention.

The story here involved a SWAT team who have an assignment to raid the apartment complex of a crime lord. From the get go we are given a main character to follow with Rama (Iko Uwais), he has a pregnant wife at home, and it is evident from the beginning has an ulterior motive for going on this mission. As the truck pulls up to the building, we have that gut feeling that something isn’t right, and as the men move in, the shit hits the fan.

The investment is there from the beginning; I was behind Rama all the way. The anticipation for things getting crazy builds up really well, and once it starts it does not let up through the entire film. Sure there are moments of calm, but it isn’t really calm, there threat level is high and full of suspense. Every piece of action, every hit, every bullet has been structured in such a smart way. We feel and see everything, no insane quick cuts to hide anything, no these men are really hitting each other. And it isn’t there just to be there, there is a reason and meaning behind it and the message is quite clear and it will hit hard too.

I loved the performances, Iko Uwais is simply phenomenal, and the man an act and the man can move. He should be the next big name, and I just want to see more of him. The feeling of discovering this man in this film, is the equivalent of discovering Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan or even more recently with Tony Jaa and Scott Adkins, you know you are seeing someone special. The rest of the cast are impressive as well, no one really stood out over anyone else, because they were so well rounded with their acting and action chops. Perhaps I shall give special mention to Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog, who participates in two of the most amazing fighting scenes in cinema history! That is no exaggeration, the fight scenes are so fantastic, and I really could sit and watch them every day. The intensity is unreal, white-knuckle type of heart attack inducing scenes, I loved it.

I might be one sick puppy for having a smile on my face throughout this film, but it was just so good and so entertaining. There are things in this film you haven’t seen before; there are things that will turn you upside with their awesome. It isn’t easy to make an action/martial arts type film, and one that has a great story, great acting, fantastic camera work and cinematography and flawless choreography, but this is one of those. Unless anything else that comes out this year can top this film in every which way, I am placing it at Number 1 for 2012. This is going to bring in a new wave of films, this has set the bar high and we’ll see where we go from there.

The Australian DVD 
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 16:9 widescreen 1080p . Audio is presented with DTS HD Master Audio – Indonesian Language and LPCM 2.0 Indonesian Language. It contains clearly legible English subtitles.

The picture and audio are jaw dropping, this is a fantastic transfer. Every scene looks and sounds incredible, and as a huge fan of this film, it was the ultimate home viewing experience.

Extras:
* Inside The Raid
* TIFF Premiere + Q & A with director and cast

With only two features on this Blu-ray edition, I can say I am disappointed. What I really wanted to see was a director’s commentary. The features that are includes are great though. The TIFF portion is excellent and it is just a really nice watch. Inside The Raid is fantastic stuff, and certainly well worth watching.

Overall Rating

Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.

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