June 30, 2014

Blu-ray & DVD Round-Up for June!

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June was a good month for noteworthy Blu-ray and DVD releases, and just in case you missed out on any of them the first time around, here's one more quick look at the best of them.

For our money, True Detective, The Bridge, Ravenous, 300: Rise of an Empire, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Wolf Creek 2 are the Must Own titles. Then again, you could make a good argument for owning any of the titles on this list. Well, most of them, anyway.

DVD wise, Crystal Lake Memories, Goodnight Lane, Haunt, and Hide and Seek are well worth your time and money.

July is going to be even bigger on the Must Own release front, so get what you need of these June titles now... because when you spread your purchases out a bit, it makes it easier on the wallet.

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VOD Review: The Raid 2 (2014)

Only two short years ago, filmmaker Gareth Evans blessed moviegoers with one of the best action flicks of all time, The Raid. Read our Review of The Raid HERE.

The Raid was full of violence, blood, mayhem, and some expertly choreographed Pencak Silat fight scenes, which mesmerized us. In a world that sees far too many half-assed, uninspired action flicks released every year, The Raid was a magnificent breath of fresh air.

From the moment the first movie ended, we wanted more. We wanted more of Rama's story, and with the way that it did end, we knew (hoped) there would be more to come.

Now, like an answered prayer, Evans has returned with a sequel to his modern-day classic that is bigger, badder, and meaner than the first one, and we are ecstatic... but of course now we really, really want The Raid 3.

Sometimes, there's just no pleasing us.

Immediately following the conclusion of The Raid, we see some skeevy gangster named Bejo execute Rama's brother. After learning this, Rama agrees to join an anti-corruption task force in an effort to both take down some gangsters and the crooked Police Commissioner, as well as keep his wife and baby safe from Bejo. Also, he probably wants some revenge for his brothers murder. He just really has a lot of good reasons to do this.

You do not threaten the safety of this man's family.
Rama is forced to go undercover to jail where he fights 80 guys, and earns the trust of Uko, the son of feared gangster Bangun, by saving his life. After their release, Rama finds that he has a job with the Bangun Gang, which means that he has to fight 250 more guys, all while trying to do his job and keep his cover in tact.

These guys fight dirty. Zing!
So Bejo's Gang, Bangun's Gang, Goto's Gang, the Japanese Yakuza, The GhangBang Gang, the Getalong Gang, Kool & the Gang, and the Wu-Tang Clan all come to blows, starting a crazy gang war on the streets of Jakarta.

Oh yeah, and there's also Prakoso. He's pretty much a one-man gang.
Will Rama take down the gangsters, thus saving his family's lives? Will there be anyone left alive in Indonesia once this movie is over? Will there be a Raid 3? Far be it from us to spoil things for you here, but the streets run red with blood, countless people are killed in crazy violent ways, and none of it ends well for about 90% of those involved. So yes, there will be a Raid 3. Eventually.

Eka's response to this guy was our favorite bit in the movie.
This movie was an absolute blast. If you've seen The Raid (Our Review HERE), then you already know what to expect from the sequel, but just know that it is bigger and yes, even better, than the original. We were so swept up in the awesomeness of the Raid 2 that its near 2 hour and 30 minute runtime felt like it went by far too quickly. For us, the mark of a good movie is despairing over the fact that "there's only 30 minutes left!" We loved every second of it, and it left us wanting more (but only because we're greedy like that.)

We'd gladly watch another movie starring Hammer Girl.
This is fast, mean, bloody, exhilarating, inventive, and exhausting action filmmaking at its best. We loved the film's structure, like how there were a mix of "Bosses" for Rama to fight; Hammer Girl; Baseball Bat Man; The Assassin; they made Rama's journey at the end feel like a video game on expert mode.

Everyone in the cast was fantastic, both in their acting and fighting abilities. Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian deserve to be International action stars after these movies; both men are at the top of their craft, and are an inspiration to watch. Yayan Ruhian is probably our favorite part of both Raid films; the guy is a little powder keg of presence and ferocity, the likes of which we haven't seen in a very long time.

So many of the cast are relative unknowns, that it makes how well they performed their on-camera feats truly amazing. Cecep Arif Rahman (The Assassin) is responsible for the best fight of the movie -which makes sense because he's a master of Pencak Silat- but in real life, he's an Elementary School Teacher. The gorgeous Julie Estelle (Hammer Girl), had absolutely no martial arts background when she took this role, and yet she came off as convincingly deadly as did anyone in the movie.

It's things like that about The Raid 2 that blow our minds.

One of the best fights that we've ever seen committed to film.
You could find things about the movie to pick apart if you were so inclined, it isn't perfect after all, but why would you want to? It's so fun and energetic that bitching about its weaker points seems silly to us. In the effort of fairness though, we will point out a few issues that exist with The Raid 2.

  • It was a long movie, and it could have probably been trimmed down to about the 2 hour mark and been slightly better off for it.
  • The plot of the movie was big and sprawling, and at times, felt a little to grand for the proceedings.
  • We have to admit that at one point towards the end of the movie, we honestly wondered how Rama could keep his one-man-army routine going and not collapse from exhaustion/injury.
  • It's subtitled, and those folks who find them to be a distraction (not us) will no doubt be irked by their presence, hence, dissuaded from watching the movie.
  • We were also pissed off that Yayan Ruhian's role in the sequel was far smaller than it was in the original. We love that guy, and had The Raid 2 been all about his character, we would have been absolutely fine with that.

All that said, we could care less about the movie's issues, because it was so much damn fun that they just don't matter all that much. That's not us giving it a pass for its faults, that's us saying that if you're picking apart the few, small issues that the movie does have, you're absolutely missing the point.

There's even a 8-bit Raid 2 game!
The Raid 2 is not only the action movie of 2014, but it is one of the best action movies that we've ever seen. If you haven't seen The Raid, then go and get yourself a copy, and watch it back to back with its sequel... and revel in the masterful fun of it all.

The bottom line is that The Raid 2 is a must see for those who are lovers of action movies, and it's good enough that it may even convert those who are not. See it, and support it.

The Raid 2 is available now on Amazon Instant VOD, and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 8th.


It's not often that we come across a gorgeous woman that also likes to viciously kill people with hammers, so we can't help but love Julie Estelle. Indonesian women are ridiculously gorgeous as it is, but this girl with her French-American and Tionghoa heritage takes that beauty to a whole new level.