Blu-ray Review: THE RAID (Australia-NZ Edition)
Chances are, if you are reading this on Twitch you very much know exactly what you are in for with The Raid. I'm not going to give you my standard italicized paragraph covering basic plot points, instead I'm going to cover Madman Australia's Bluray release of this incredible, insert hyperbolic explosion of words here, and trust me they have all been used, not that I can doubt these claims. Frankly I have seen The Raid three times now and I can attest to these bold and brash words used to describe the extremely tense action.
The Raid is not just an exhilarating sequence of hyper-violent action scenes however; it also has a tremendous sense of rhythm and progression. As the police squad covertly make their way in to the complex, scenes intercut with the heinous villainy taking place upstairs and when the shit does hit the fan this style of pacing continues but in a more frenetic way.
This is especially the case given the fraction and chaos amidst the squad itself after a brutal offensive. The Raid also utilises tension effortlessly, from evading the machete squad to playing hide and seek in a tenant's apartment. This tension also stems from the oppressive atmosphere of the complex itself, long dingy hallways lined with doors, who knows what lies in wake behind them for the unfortunate trapped souls in this building. From observation tension also exists in the fights themselves. It is not just break-neck choreography of masculine destruction; it is also an embedded fear and suspense into what the next martial arts move is going to do to either combatant, as it is usually devastating and eyebrow raising.
On to the Bluray itself, Madman has released The Raid with 2.0 and 5.0 audio, thankfully without the English dub. The music has however been remixed as per the Sony Pictures release and it is fortunately still excellent and very fitting, although another audio track with the original soundtrack would have been ideal. Regardless, the bone crunching, gun shooting and screams of agony all sound great, and more importantly this release of The Raid is the uncut one.
The visual quality leaves a little to be desired however, at times, particularly the darker corridor sequences the appearance is undeniably grainy and less than what would be expected on a Bluray version, but most of it looks excellent and does this interesting locale justice.
Madman have thankfully released The Raid on both DVD and Bluray, and although these niggling quality issues could have resulted in a better release, the fact that we have it in Australia at all is more than enough to be satisfied with, the film sells itself and it is hard to get bogged down by such minor annoyances given the exemplary display of technical and physical wonderment taking place on screen.
On to the extras, Madman has not exactly packed their release of the Raid with them. There is a making-of and TIFF Q&A with cast and crew, they are both quite brief and it is always interesting to hear Gareth passionately talk about The Raid, but this brings me to the next point. There is unfortunately no commentary track from the director, comparable to the US release, which includes that and is loaded with extras and features.
Regardless, The Raid is still one absolutely must-own film, and it is a relief that Madman have made it possible to buy this break-out fusion masterpiece of violence and suspense in Australia, even if it is a bit more basic than the US version.