I picked up writer/director/editor Gareth Evans‘ The Raid 2 on Blu-ray this week and damn if it wasn’t worth every penny. The quote on the box from our own Matt Goldberg calls the film “one of the greatest action movies ever made” and, after watching it, I can’t say that I disagree. Evans takes everything that made The Raid great and augments it to create an unforgettable action spectacle that is bigger in every conceivable way. It goes without saying that the stunt work and fight choreography is top notch, but work that strong shouldn’t be taken for granted so I’m mentioning it anyway. Additionally, DP’s Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono use of color and contrast manage to make the film’s extreme violence look and feel more artful than a hammer ripping someone’s throat out has any right to be. I’m cramped for space here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the film’s lead, Iko Uwais, delivers an absolute powerhouse performance that is both physically impossible and emotionally deft. All told, The Raid 2 is a masterful piece of technical action work that should be appreciated and analyzed for years to come. For even more, check out our Blu-ray review here.
Begrudgingly moving away from The Raid 2, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warner Bros. bumping up the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first trailer for Focus Features’ The Theory of Everything, an introductory look at the films of Andrew Dominik, and the Alamo Drafthouse announcing the first wave of programming for its annual Fantastic Fest. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.