Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 12th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1991
Directors: Siu-Tung Ching, Hark Tsui
Writers: Hark Tsui, Kai-Chi Yuen
Cast: Jacky Cheung, Siu-Tung Ching, Paul Chun, Joyce Godenzi, Chi Ming Lau, Siu-Ming Lau, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Dean Shek, Hark Tsui, Corey Yuen, Fennie Yuen
DVD released: October 13th, 2015
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: Set is Japanese-occupied Manchuria during WWII, Chinese nationalists are given the task of destroying a Japanese factory that contains a deadly chemical weapon.
Content wise, this film is an adaption of Manhua (comic book) titled Uncle Choi that was written by Hui Guan-man. Other clear inspirations include The Indiana Jones films and Hollywood action / adventure serials from the 1930’s and 1940’s.
First off one would think that the premise of the film a deadly gas that instantly kills those who come in contact with it would be depicted as drama. That is not the case here as comedy plays a large role in the story at hand. Thankfully when it comes to more serious subject this film does present it with a more serious tone.
And without a doubt this film it at its best during action oriented moments. With each action set piece more outrageous then the previous one. There is one moment where two characters are hanging on the side of mountain and one character flips with his foot a gun to the other who shoots the enemy target while hanging upside down. Of course when it comes to action set pieces the best is saved for the film’s finale.
From a production stand point the visuals are consistently strong throughout. With the most surprising aspect of the visuals being the use of drawings which show up periodically throughout the film. Also the narrative is well constructed and when it comes to back-story this film provides just enough. And when it comes to pacing there is never an issues as things move along at a break neck pace.
Performance wise the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With Dean Shek (Drunken Master) in the role of Dr.Choy. His effortless when it comes to comedy shine throughout this film. Also this film would serve as his swan song as an actor. Other key cast members include Jacky Cheung (Bullet in the Head) in the role of a gangster named Bobo Bear and Tony Ka Fai Leung (The Lover) in the role of Masa, this character is the Japanese military officer who is in charge of the factory that produces the deadly gas.
Well Go USA presents The Raid in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. Colors and flesh look accurate and though details generally look crisp, shadow detail is lacking during darker moments. Also though there are issues with edge enhancement which looks more pronounced during scenes that are CGI heavy and some mild compression related issues.
This release comes with two audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Cantonese and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Cantonese. There are no issues with background noise, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced robust when it needs too. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the film and trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall The Raid gets a serviceable audio / video presentation from Well Go USA that leaves plenty of room for improvement.