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The Raid: Redemption(2011)
A police raid on a decrepit, vast Indonesian apartment building populated by the city's most dangerous and desperate citizens turns into a bloodbath. The elite SWAT team who have breached the building, including courageous and noble policeman Rama, are pursuing the building's owner, a powerful drug lord. Their assignment proves even more dangerous and deadly than expected.
For more about The Raid: Redemption and the The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray release, see the The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 3, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Gareth Evans
Writer: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno, Ray Sahetapy
» See full cast & crew
The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray Review
Nothing but action makes 'The Raid" Redemption' an exciting film.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 3, 2012
We have to get out of this place.
The Raid: Redemption is an orgy of violence wrapped around a loose and uninteresting story, relatively bland characters, and routine plot developments. The movie succeeds on pure adrenaline, fight choreography, and guts alone. Audiences looking for anything other than butt-whooping firearm, machete, knife, and martial arts style should seek out another film. Director Gareth Evans' (Merantau) picture ranks high up on the list of ultimate guy movie adrenaline rushes; it's almost nonstop blood and violence, eschewing most other factors save for a few necessary breaks in the action and a handful of compulsory character scenes in order to bring viewers one of the most daring, relentless, and brutal movie experiences in some time. It's dark, dreary, inhospitable, and ofttimes frightening. It's as close as the Action movie and Cop drama can get to the Horror picture without featuring masked maniacs and unnecessary gore.
Rama (Iko Uwais) is a rookie cop who's dedicated to his job. He wakes early, works out hard, says his prayers, and unabashedly loves his pregnant wife. One day, he finds himself in the back of a SWAT van with several other heavily-armed officers. The team's mission is to take out a ruthless criminal kingpin named Tama (Ray Sahetapy), a man feared by his opponents and treated as if a god by those around him. He controls a massive apartment complex that's become home to all sorts of criminal types who work under him. The building houses his own drug lab and an army of expert fighters who will die in Tama's name. The SWAT team moves up and moves in. They secure the lower floors before their presence becomes known. When word reaches Tama of the incursion, he orders the officers taken down by any means necessary. What follows is a relentless bloodbath that will take an untold number of lives and a mental and physical toll on anyone fortunate enough to survive the mayhem.
That's the plot in a nutshell, but don't worry too much about story specifics. The Raid: Redemption is a shoot, slice, stab, punch, and kick first-and-only sort of movie. The picture offers endless and merciless violence, beginning with the execution of several unidentified people and continuing on until everyone in the movie is bloodied, shot, exploded, cut, maimed, or killed. But this is not an exercise in ratings-pushing. While The Raid: Redemption certainly shoves into boundaries, it never crosses into bad taste or celebrates violence, even if it turns violence into something of an art form at times. But the drab visuals, nearly colorless picture, and sheer awfulness guarantee that the movie puts a psychologically negative spin on this level of bloodshed, even if it in a roundabout way celebrates the artistry inherent in fighting and surviving in a closed-in urban environment. The dreary, inhospitable, worn-down building, saturated in bloodshed and slathered in hopelessness, only further emphasizes the gruesomeness that oozes from every scene. The movie finds that sweet spot where it makes the audience physically uncomfortable and even terrified, but at the same time energized and unable to turn away, no matter how brutal it may become.
So what's the point of this entire endeavor? That's difficult to say. The movie is entertaining and heart-pounding almost to a fault. If this doesn't get the juices flowing, chances are nothing will. It will certainly verify whether one's alive and open to the allure of cinema as escapism, that's for sure. If nothing else, though, the movie is just a cool-as-ice offering that's slicked up but not dumbed down, largely because there's nothing to dumb down. The picture is 100% fast action where unique kills, wounds, and near-misses are commonplace. The fight choreography is excellent, and even when the movie is so dark that it's a bit difficult to see what, exactly, is happening, it's obvious that The Raid: Redemption has its style down to a science. It's lightening-quick and the speed and pace give the movie some intensity and tension even when both are largely absent from a dramatic perspective. The good news is that the absence of drama and razor-sharp character development and dialogue doesn't hurt the experience. Audiences will come to know and care for the lead character, but only because the movie follows him and not necessarily because he's a rookie cop and an expectant father (yawn). The intensity definitely comes from the insane level of violence and relentless pace. The Raid: Redemption knows its strengths and its place, and kudos for sticking to its guns and not attempting to be something that it just is not.
The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray, Video Quality
The low budget The Raid: Redemption arrives on Blu-ray with a lackluster transfer that's a result of a deliberately dark tone and low-grade photography. The HD video image is terribly flat and lifeless. Details are bland at best, whether almost nonexistent skin textures or a startling lack of complexity on rough surfaces around the building's interior and exterior locations. The image is at least consistent in its absence of crisp HD imagery, never capturing much more than the most cursory of details even in the brightest outdoor or indoor scenes. Colors are lifeless, too. The darker scenes offer next to nothing outside of shades of blue, gray, and black. Well-lit scenes manage a few splashes of stale color, such as blue containers as seen in a drug lab battle late in the movie. A pale red brick wall, washed out gray skies, and human skin account for most of the coloring outside. Black levels waver greatly, appearing pale and washed out here and overwhelming there while often slathered in noise. Heavy banding is scattered throughout. This is far from a pleasant watch, but the Blu-ray image appears to reproduce the original elements as well as it can, which is all one can really ask of a movie filmed in this manner.
The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Raid: Redemption debuts on Blu-ray with the Sony-typical 5.1 channel lossless DTS track, presented both in English and Indonesian. As with the video presentation, this one's fairly "blah," but it does fare a tad better on the whole. There's not much presence inside the rattling SWAT van at the beginning; only a cursory amount of bumpiness and rattling play, though at least the sound emanates through the entire stage. Gunfire ranges from pop-gun intensity to nearly full-blown excellence. Sniper shots from a fairly enclosed space early on lack authority, but fire later in the film finds more potency. Music plays with fine spacing and good clarity, supported by an adequate low end. The surround channels carry a good bit of the load in terms of both music and sound effects, predominantly in the form of gunfire with a notable moment coming when distant strings of automatic weapons fire are heard emanating from all over the stage when the action is away from the gunfire but playing out simultaneously in another part of the building. It's a good all-around track, but a defining Action movie Blu-ray audio presentation this is not. Note that listeners may choose to view the movie with either the film's original music or music by Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda.
The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Raid: Redemption contains a comprehensive collection of bonus content.
The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Anyone who wants to see relentless violence, amazing fight choreography, incessant bloodshed, and all sorts of chaotic gun, blade, and fist action, The Raid: Redemption is the movie to see. Anyone who doesn't get excited reading that last sentence should stay far away. The Raid: Redemption is no masterpiece, but it's an exemplary action-only movie that knows its place and gets every last bit of blood and sweat out of its premise. There's minimal story and characterization, just enough to give the movie some sense of purpose beyond spilling blood. Stylistically, this is a dark, drab, uncomfortable sort of movie, just the right tenor for a picture as brutal and exciting as this. Sony's Blu-ray release of The Raid: Redemption features bland video, fair audio, and a nice assortment of extras. Recommended for fans of violent cinema.
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