[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9164[/img]Title: The Raid: Redemption
Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yahan Ruhlan
Directed by: Gareth Evans
Written by: Gareth Evans
Studio: Pt. Merantau Films
Runtime: 101 min
Blu-ray Release Date: August 14 2012
HTS Overall Score: 64
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9165[/img]A heavily armed team of Special Forces officers pull up to a nondescript nearly dilapidated apartment high-rise. The objective is to infiltrate the building to find the narcotics lab and its boss. Not knowing exactly on what floor either of the targets are the team’s strategy is to start by suppressing the outside lookouts and then storm and take each floor until they discover the lab and the boss’s whereabouts. The lookouts are speedily dispatched and the team swiftly enters the building only to soon encounter men armed with machetes and powerful guns. The team is basically going in blind by not knowing details like how many henchmen the boss will send and from where they’ll come at them. Combine that with surveillance cameras on every floor linked to an array of monitors the boss is viewing from a safe place; it’s unlikely the team will advance far. Without surprise the team’s efficacy at achieving their goal is soon stunted and what team members are still alive must now avert getting slaughtered by the constant barrage of crazy machete wielding baddies.
From the onset of engaging the bad guys in the building the action is non-stop. Many of the nameless Special Forces officers are dispensed of pretty early on leaving a handful of characters with actual names, and even then it’s hard to keep track, but it doesn’t actually matter. You feel no emotion for anyone because there’s no backstory or character development. Conversely that’s not a problem because of the constant fighting that overshadows just about everything else and becomes (for me) the primary focus and something to look forward to following each completed scene. The initial linear storyline is also now becoming somewhat convoluted reducing its interest and magnifying the awesomeness of the martial arts.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9167[/img]The fighting without argument dominates every scene it is part of. How plausible in terms of the number and severity of body shots a person can endure before they’re dead or hurt beyond the capability to move is beyond me, because that’s one thing that crossed my mind as the fist fights got longer and more complex, but glossing over that the fight scenes are truly spectacular and just amazing to watch. The choreography to learn the long sequences that combine punches, kicks, jumps, ducks, slides, and throws must have been time consuming and mentally difficult. The fights also incorporate weapons and the physical surrounding, making them all the more complicated and jaw dropping in their relentlessness. Some scenes played out like a video game where the bad guys just kept coming without end in sight and the officer(s) fought them off without losing any stamina. Plenty of editing and precise camera positioning contributes to the overall look of the fights, but sometimes a “Rocky” moment slips in where you see the head start to jerk sideways before the fist would actually make contact, but that’s forgivable and really just nitpicking.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9170[/img]The end of The Raid: Redemption, why it’s called that needs explaining, is a mixed bag of questions. If you make a few calculated assumptions it’ll sort of link things together providing for a somewhat coherent ending, otherwise it’s vague. There’s no wow factor in the finale and what little tension accumulates dissipates shortly and everything naturally winds down. The ending and entire storyline are as bland as the color scheme, but the physical action and gunfights are really something to watch.
R for strong brutal bloody violence throughout, and language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9166[/img]There’s a lot of gunfire in the movie, but its impact varies across the board. In an early scenes three baddies armed with automatic weapons lay waste to the front of a police vehicle, but the blasts emanating from the repeat fire sound tame and very toned down. Fast forward ten minutes or so to when the gunfire exchange happens inside the apartment complex and it’s a whole new experience, here the impact ranges from absolutely noticeable to booming and powerful with the subwoofer coming to life on numerous occasions enhancing the feeling of being close to the action. The countless body blows exchanged amongst the cast sounds fairly real. The score is prevalent, loudening and quieting whenever the scene necessitates. It does a pretty good job at setting the atmosphere, which is always tense and foreshadowing something brutal about to happen. Despite its constant presence it never robs the scenes of the action sounds. Dialogue is clear, mainly because it usually happens during non-action parts. Environmental and ambient sounds never make their mark and the amount of them is underutilized. There’s a lack of simple ordinary sounds that may seem minor, but actually contribute a lot. The Raid: Redemption offers up a modest soundtrack that includes a mix of chest pulsating scenes to ones more docile and toned down.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9169[/img]The Raid: Redemption has a very cold, dark and gray color palette that melds well with the setting and brutal kill sequences; even the blood is a realistic looking deep red. The all black uniforms the S.W.A.T.-type members wear have a semi-glossy appearance with detail level being just fine. Weapons have a noticeable luster with detail being more than acceptable. Black levels are very deep, but fit in well with the drab dull looking interiors the team members enter. There are a few overall dark sequences that for a short time look undistinguishable, but when the flares from the automatic weapons light up those sequences the result looks pretty nice. Skin textures are acceptable, but noticeably lacking compared to higher budget movies. Large flat surfaces like walls and floors that are plainly rough also receive little attention to texturing. The Raid: Redemption was made on a micro budget of $1,100,000, and that shows in the overall flat and lifeless look, nothing ever pops or grabs your attention, but I think even if the budget were multiplied 10 fold the result would be the same because I think this is an intentional look. There are also a lot of creative camera tricks used to show the action from different angles and the choreography is amazing; in that sense the production value is very high. The picture quality without question resembles standard definition, but honestly it isn’t too detrimental in the wow factor achieved from all the other aspects (excluding character development) in the movie.
Claycat’s The Raid
-Behind the Music with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese
-An Evening with Gareth Evans, Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9168[/img]The Raid: Redemption is an unapologetic pure action film with pretty much no character development that relies on magnificent fight sequences to drive the storyline forward and keep the viewer entertained. I am a huge fan of character development because it lays the foundation for an engaging storyline wherein you care about the people involved, but in this case the action truly overshadows that aspect and although I definitely noticed I was getting next to no background information on the primary characters I put that aside and enjoyed the movie on the basis I think it was meant to be. For some it simply may have been too much of a good thing tainting the overall movie, but not all memorable and enjoyable movies have a good mix of facets. If your intent is to watch a movie with lots of TOTALLY AWESOME ACTION! please go and rent The Raid: Redemption, the physical fight scenes will leave you in awe.
Buy Raid: The Redemption on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Rent it!
Watch the Official Trailer
Recommendation: Rent it!
Watch the Official Trailer