The Raid 2 Blu-Ray Review
Posted by Chad Webb on 07.08.2014
If you havenít seen this yet, what are you waiting for? Is this one of the best action films ever? Click to find out.
Iko Uwais: Rama/Yuda
Julie Estelle: Alicia/Hammer Girl
Yayan Ruhian: Prakoso
Arifin Putra: Uco
Oka Antara: Eka
Donny Alamsyah: Andi
Written and Directed By: Gareth Evans
Theatrical Release Date: April 11, 2014
Blu-Ray/DVD Release Date: July 8, 2014
Running Time: 150 minutes
Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence throughout, sexuality and language
Plot Summary: The Raid 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first film left off. Rama (Iko Uwais) is recruited into a secret anti-corruption division of the police force that seeks to expose the backroom dealings of the police commissioner with the Bangun and Goto gangs. Rama has no choice but to join after learning of his brotherís murder and the threat to his family. It turns out the people he defeated in The Raid: Redemption were small fish in a much larger pond. So he decides to go undercover and work his way up the ladder of the competing groups to find out who is giving the orders and who needs to be taken down. The goal is to eliminate police corruption and the ruthless gangs involved.
When I wrote out my thoughts on The Raid 2 on Letterboxd, here is how my excitement came out:
ďIf there ever was a movie that could induce a man-gasm, it would be The Raid 2. This sequel is so filled to the brim with bad-ass awesomeness it's scary.
Its predecessor, The Raid: Redemption, was already a modern classic in its own right, but now director Gareth Evans has upped the ante and raised his own bar. Mr. Evans, I salute you, never change sir.
I'm not going to elaborate on my favorite scenes. Discover the wondrous carnage and overwhelming fucking greatness for yourself. This is non-stop joyous wish-fulfillment for action fans.
Seriously, if you are a fan of action and dislike this, either seek help or stop watching action movies. Oh man, I can't express enough how mind-blowingly masterful this is. Think I'm crazy? Don't judge until you've seen it.
There is no rating worthy enough of the glory this bestows upon the world. 5 stars is too small a number. Do whatever you have to do, but see this now. Call off work, school, whatever and drive however far it takes. Your day will instantly become better for having seen The Raid 2. All of your stress will fade away. I won't say it cures illnesses, but I wouldn't be surprised.
I don't just give this a thumbs up, I give it a thumbs up on 10 Red Bulls and 20 backflips. Oh yeah.
In all seriousness, I loved every minute of this. It was a blast.Ē
I could probably have only put that here and the point would have been made that this is a glorious spectacle of action violence. But for the Blu-Ray release, Iíll provide more thoughts just in case the above review wasnít satisfactory.
If youíre an action fan, The Raid 2 has something that suits your fancy. It is an exquisitely made motion picture that almost instantly tells the viewers that it will be different than the film that came before it. The claustrophobic atmosphere in The Raid: Redemption was mesmerizing and enthralling, a brilliant setting despite any similarities to Dredd. The Raid 2 is not confined at all. Various environments are used as a stage. Evans, his cinematographers, and his choreographers, combine their intellect and find that proper groove, that rhythm, to create a balletic brutality, a sort of graceful spiral of carnage that is a joy to behold. Based on the storyline alone, it is reminiscent of The Departed (or the Infernal Affairs trilogy obviously) and a bit of the Police Story franchise.
What is truly amazing is how far Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais have come since Merentau in 2009, their first collaboration. That film had its moments, and packed several awesome fight sequences, but was also quite cheesy like martial arts flicks tend to be. With The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2, they have both evolved and matured their respective fields via their collaborative relationship. Evans is a much better filmmaker now, emphasizing a more refined stroke and proving he can craft stunning images no matter how gruesome they may be. Uwais, who was already talented in silat, has conveyed a burgeoning versatility in his performance. His technique still stands tall above all else, but he is also a determined, intense actor on screen. As a director-star duo, they have raised the bar in the genre. The entire cast is superb, no turn is too corny or excessively scenery-chewing. You will find people that donít care for the efforts starring Stallone or Statham, or perhaps those suffering from super hero fatigue at the other end of the spectrum. Good luck finding any picture that can hold a candle to this, let alone someone who canít get revved up by the wondrous mayhem.
The Raid 2 enjoyed a larger budget and thus lacked the picture flaws of the original film. The Blu-Ray transfer for this effort is almost spotless. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is gorgeous and the 2.40:1 aspect ratio is perfect this time around. The Raid: Redemption carried a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Evans and his cinematographers shot this film at locations and settings with greatly improved lighting and the clarity shows as a result. The quality of the video here is crisp, detailed, and beautifully textured. There are a lot more colors than the dim gray from the previous flick. Evans and company go out of their way to separate this from its predecessor with vivid, vibrant coloring that does not bleed, black levels that are sufficiently deep, and generally a more expansive environment. This is a slick looking release.
Action/martial arts movies will always give your entertainment system a workout and this is no exception. Whether it is the sound of rain falling or the intensity of the fight sound effects, everything is crystal clear and very engaging. The dialogue is lucid and understandable from start to finish. The music and the action do not overwhelm the actors at all, which is nice. The trio of individuals who provided the music does a fantastic job and it emanates from the speakers with wonderful balance. The three audio track options are: Indonesian/Bahasa 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English (dubbed) 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Iím not one for dubbing, but if it sounds anything like the Indonesian/Bahasa track, it is exemplary. We have subtitles in English, English SDH, and Spanish.
The Raid 2 is distributed in a standard slimline blue keep case. The menu screens are easy to navigate and are simply images of various characters over top of a gunfire scene. You also receive an Ultraviolet code with advertisements for The Raid: Redemption and other Blu-Rays on the reverse side.
Audio Commentary- This commentary track is with director Gareth Evans and it is excellent overall. Thankfully he is cognizant of what buyers want and thatís for the content in the commentary not to echo the content in the featurettes. He mentions that he wants to avoid that here. He does go in depth about what he wanted with The Raid 2 and it is filled with cool stories and anecdotes.
Gang War Deleted Scene (4:37) Ė I doubt the film would have kept its hard "R" rating if this scene was included in the final cut. Still, it's insane and bloody as hell. In my opinion it is effective as its own short film. One more bravura action scene.
The Next Chapter: Shooting a Sequel (10:47) Ė First the cast is introduced and then this mini ďmaking-ofĒ extra discusses the action, the plot, the silat choreography, and more sequences.
Ready for a Fight: On Location (12:59) Ė This featurette dives into the prison bathroom fight and the muddy prison battle outside. They show us the locations, talk about the on-set editing process, and more. The shoot was several months long and they mention ways to boost the morale of everyone working. They also touch on the various weapons in the film and the score.
A Violent Ballet: The Choreography (19:03) Ė This is self explanatory. Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais are the two main fight choreographers, in addition to being two of the stars of the series, so they are the ones who chat about how the action was constructed, the prep, what the silat style is, and more. Evans meanwhile talks about his approach to action movies and by the end of this extra, they spend a considerable amount of time on the kitchen sequence.
The Cinefamily Q&A (44:09) Ė This is a post-screening Q&A with director Gareth Evans, lead Iko Uwais, and score composer Joe Trapanese. This is the lengthiest bonus feature on the disc, but it is worth watching even if some of the info dropped can be heard on other extras within. The host does a good job and unlike other Q&Aís the questions are not totally worthless.
Theatrical Trailer (1:36) Ė Not much to explain here. This is the trailer. It is good. Yeah.
The Film: 10.0/10.0
The Video: 9.0/10.0
The Audio: 10.0/10.0
The Packaging: 7.5/10.0
The Extras: 9.0/10.0
The 411: If I had to compare both Raid films, I would say that The Raid 2 is a rare example of a sequel that tops the original. Both are among the greatest action films of all-time, but this follow-up in the adventures of Rama has a bit more to offer. Itís long, but never boring and if anyone says otherwise, then Iíd love to know what holds your attention. I didnít go into too much detail about my favorite scenes because a) there are so many to choose from and b) I didnít want to spoil any part of the action if I could help it. Gareth Evans has stated that he will be taking a break from martial arts movies before commencing work on The Raid 3. I can wait if it is even close to as awe-inspiring as this. The Blu-Ray succeeds everywhere. The audio and video are top-notch and the special features are solid. This is a purchase you must have. Do not settle for streaming.