Actors: Iko Uwais
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Dubbed: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Run Time: 150 minutes
Most action films are best seen in movie theaters; full of spectacle and excess fittingly paired with the event-like experience of seeing a film in public. While The Raid 2 was most definitely an experience that I am glad to have had in a theater, I think I may have enjoyed my second viewing at home even more. This is saying a lot, especially considering how praiseworthy my theatrical review was of the film. The reason that this film holds up and even increases in impressiveness is simply a matter of good filmmaking. Most theatrical spectacles don’t aspire for anything more than entertainment and can fall apart upon too much inspection, but The Raid 2 is a film whose impressiveness is only enhanced by dissection. While my first viewing was like a disorientating gut-punch of excitement, the second time allowed me to step back and examine just how spectacular all of the filmmaking elements are.
The story for Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2 was actually conceived before anything from the first film was thought of. The Raid: Redemption was made as a result of Evans’ inability to create the vision he had because of the massive scale. The Raid: Redemption was created as a smaller budget alternative, which ultimately allowed Evans to create this masterpiece long in the making. The first film is about a cop named Rama (Iko Uwais) who attempts to save his criminal brother while on a deadly police raid in a building full of killers. The Raid 2 begins immediately following the end of the first film, but takes the story in a whole new direction by making Rama an undercover cop.
There is still a one-man police raid at the climax of the film, but the 150-minute running time allows for a complex narrative along with the impressively cringe-inducing action sequences. That is not all that has been added to Evans’ action repertoire, with nearly every facet of action movies covered fluidly throughout the story. There are plenty of brutal martial arts, gunplay, knife-play, car chases and even a prison brawl that is shot with a sense of carefully orchestrated chaos most often reserved for massively budgeted war movies. All of this is enhanced by the filmmaking choices, many of which are effective without being flashy. I didn’t even realize how many long tracking shots were achieved amidst the carefully orchestrated and complex fight scenes, which is a rarity in action movies. Often many quick cuts achieve an easier sense of urgency, but Evans is able to accomplish something so much more layered. Few films are ever this well made, regardless of budget.
The other bonus aspect of watching The Raid 2 on Blu-ray is the bonus features. Although there is only one deleted scene, it is really a full-fledged deleted action sequence. It has none of the major characters from the film, and therefore was an understandable sacrifice from the final cut, but is incredibly impressive as a stand-alone sequence of brutal violence that is heavily stylized. This scene is exclusive to the Blu-ray release, along with an on-location behind-the scenes featurette and one about the film’s intricate action choreography. Other extras that are also on the DVD include a commentary track with Evans, another featurette and a Q&A with the director and his stars.
Entertainment Value: 10/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 10/10
Historical Significance: 9.5/10