The Raid - DVD Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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The Raid - DVD Review

Title: The Raid


HTS Overall Score:62

Tsui Hark is a legend in Hong Kong cinema. He’s not exactly a creator of traditional films, as he has a penchant for meandering around with his story lines and going for the blatantly absurd. Still, he’s made plenty of fantastic films over the last 30+ years and has made many an Asian action star insanely popular. Back in the 80’s and 90’s he was at the top of his game, pumping out film after film with great results. “The Raid” is not one of his best films, but serves as a harmlessly fun little action/comedy plagued with a few issues. I was sad that there was no Blu-ray release, but I’m rather happy that we got this one at all, considering the niche status it maintains in the Hong Kong cinema database.

It’s about 1930 and the occupation of Manchuria by the Japanese is in full swing. The famed “last Emperor of China” has been reinstituted as a puppet ruler, whole the Japanese pull the strings. The Chinese army is doing their best to rid themselves of the invaders, but are having a rough time of it. They try to assassinate the Emperor, only to fail miserably, and a ragtag group of soldiers are fighting an uphill battle trying to find a Japanese poison gas compound and destroy it. Joined by Dr. Choi (Dean Shek, in full “old man” makeup), an aging physician who desperately wants to relive his glory days. His young adopted niece, Nancy, and a few Chinese mob bosses named Bobo bear (Jacky Cheung) and Brother Big Nose (Corey Yuen), the band of misfits travels across Manchuria to stop the poison gas installation.

Things never go as planned, and it doesn’t take long before things go sideways. Infiltrating the imperial house, the soldiers get found out when they try and meet their contact, Tina (Fennie Yuen) and have to be saved by Dr. Choi. Ironically, the Emperor and his advisor, a Japanese soldier named Masa (Tony Leung), think that Dr. Choi is a mastermind spy and spend every effort to track down and capture the fairly harmless old man. You already know the outcome of this lighthearted little action/comedy. The good guys beat the bad guys, and with plenty of martial arts action to boot, but that in and of itself is a majority of the charm.

“The Raid” is a bit of a goofy film, bordering on the insane, but that really is Tsui Hark’s style. Luckily for us, the story doesn’t really meander off into the inexplicable, being that Ching Siu-Tung is co-directing the film and acting as a bit of an anchor in those respects. Comedy is hit or miss with most people, and Tsui Hark comedy is an acquired taste. There is some definite loss of humor in translation at points, but my Cantonese is passable enough that I could pick up a few more of the jokes than your average viewer. The only thing I can see as a MAJOR detriment to the film is the subtitles. There are spelling mistakes as well as vernacular eccentricities that makes it a bit tough to understand smoothly sometimes. Once you get used to the direct translations (meaning it tries to directly translate word for word instead of taking context and common wording into account), it gets a bit easier though.


Not Rated by the MPAA

“The Raid’s” video encode manages to fare a bit better than “The Avenging Fist” did. While definitely not taken from a sparkling new master, the encode looks pretty decent with some solid fine detail and coloring. There’s some speckles and print imperfections for sure, but they aren’t bad at all. The only real complaint I had was that the image was a bit soft 50% of the time. Other bits of the film were very nice, with strong detail, but other times it would get a bit mushy and occasionally artifact a bit. Banding was very minimal and black levels were pretty solid to boot. I wouldn’t call it a great looking picture, but it’s hardly offensive and will satisfy most fans who haven’t seen this since the incredibly awful release over a decade ago.

The 5.1 Cantonese track is about on par with the audio, having some really nice points to it, but also suffering from a few issues as well. Dialog and effects can feel a bit boxy and compressed, but the vocals are crisp and clear at all times. There’s really no LFE to speak of in the film, but a little bit of midbass allows for some booms here and there. Surrounds are unnaturally silent, as the majority of the film lives in the front sound stage (which actually surprised me considering how much action and martial arts are in the film). It’s a good track, and certainly serviceable, but the tight and cramped feeling in the track did little to really make it great.


• Trailers


“The Raid” is a star studded 90’s action/comedy that really ends up just being fun instead of great. When the jokes work, they really work, but when they don’t, it can be pretty painful. I will say that there is a bedroom scene in the middle of the movie plays out like a mix between the Three Stooges and Benny Hill a fantastic execution of clichéd joke. I was laughing myself silly at that one scene for almost 10 minutes (my wife can affirm, she thought I was going insane or something). Audio and video are a bit mediocre, but being that I can’t find this title anywhere but an expensive bootleg or Hong Kong Import, it’s MORE than acceptable. Definitely give it a rent if you enjoy Hong Kong Cinema.

Additional Information:

Starring: Jacky Cheung, Joyce Godenzi, Ching Siu-Tung
Director: Tsui Hark, Ching Siu-Tung
Written By: Tsui Hark, Yuen Kai-Chi
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: Cantonese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Cantonese DD 2.0
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 98 Minutes
DVD Release Date: October 13th, 2015

Buy The Raid DVD on Amazon

Recommendation: For the eclectic martial arts fan

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