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‘The Raid: Redemption’ 4K UHD (Blu-ray review)


I know, I know, I am a baker’s dozen number of years late in watching this insane action film. So sue me.

Better late than never, right?

When this movie came out I was told that “I HAVE TO WATCH THIS FILM!”

And for some reason I still missed it. In the subsequent dozen plus years I just never got around to it. Sorry.

But now all is right in the world.

I have finally seen The Raid: Redemption.

This adrenaline-fueled Indonesian martial arts film, written, directed and edited by Gareth Evans was everything I had come to expect given all the reviews and friends’ descriptions of it.

For those, like I was until last night, who are still in the dark about what this 2011 film is about, here is a brief synopsis: A small band of S.W.A.T. Police officers are given the almost impossible assignment to raid (Hey that’s the name of the movie!) a high-rise residential tower to root out and apprehend a local powerful crime boss and eliminate his increasingly growing drug manufacturing ring.

At least that is what we are led to believe. What actually is going on is hidden from the sergeant of the team from his lieutenant. What ensues is one of the most bonkers, fun, and intense action films seen at the time of its release in 2011. The violence is as unbridled as its action.

Featuring the Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat, it is an onslaught of hands, arms, and kicks mixed with grappling and rapid strikes. This mixed with a half dozen other martial arts has to be seen to truly get how incredible it is. Director Evans’ choice to not cut away or use edits to heighten the intensity of the fight scenes is a bonus. He allows most of the action and fights to happen in longer cuts to showcase the meticulously choreographed fight sequences. I appreciate this so much and it is a credit to the film as a whole.

I will say that the non-stop use of the “shaky cam” look and the handheld, never stopping bouncing around became a lot for these older eyes but never so much that it wholly detracts from the enjoyment of what I was watching. Overall the cinematography and the editing are top tier and on point.

As for plot, the whole story is basically just an excuse for the action to happen. The “twist” in the end is pretty easy to figure out from the beginning. But that is not why you come to a film like this. Seriously. This, like 2012’s film Dredd written by Alex Garland and directed by Pete Travis, which many have pointed out is a bit derivative, are very similar. I absolutely adore Dredd and do not think it received the respect that it deserved. Visually stunning and incredible effects, it perfectly depicts the comics that it is adapted from.

However neither is a Pulitzer Prize winning script and one could say that they are both just different versions of the “small band of fighters storming a stronghold” story trope. I love Dredd and The Raid: Redemption equally. I think they can exist in the same discussion and you don’t have to choose one or the other.

Like the meme says “Both. Both are good”.

I have to say that I watched The Raid 2 immediately after watching this one and I may have to do a review of that one soon as well because I have… thoughts.

Extras include commentary, behind the scenes vlogs, featurettes, and trailer.

For now I will leave you with this. I can completely see why this film received the accolades it did when it was released. It is a fresh and completely all-consuming experience. I am sure many had never seen anything like it. At least in a long time. As a fan of Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa, and Donnie Yen, growing up watching martial arts films and action films my whole life I totally understand people’s love for The Raid: Redemption and I enjoyed it a lot.


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