The Raid: Redemption (2011)

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Seizing what it has to offer instead of overcompensating and confusing the plot, which is done all too often these days. The Raid: Redemption might be brainless action, but it accomplishes what it sets out to achieve and more. It’s impeccably and incredible choreographed violence is paced and ascending. Leading to a slowly burning, blood soaked finale that will leave you craving seconds. Blindly proceeding forward with its strong foot leading. The foundation, the story, is actually quite intriguing. Characters divided by morals but connected by roots, criss crossing in and out of compassion and resentment. The Raid: Redemption’s cast is thrown to indecision and seemingly cross the line between fiction and reality in their performances.┬áDirected by Gareth Evans, who is putting his talent to good use following up The Raid by contributing to the popular horror anthology V/H/S’s sequel, V/H/S 2. With The Raid: Redemption, what you see is what you get, no mirage, which is an oddity these days.

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In Indonesia, an apartment building is the base for a cruel, criminal drug lord named Tama and his gang. One morning, Lieutenant Wahyu and Sergeant Jaka prepare their special forces team that includes Rama, a rookie and expectant father to raid the safe house. Tama and his gang manage to take out the majority of the special unit. Tama proceeds to announce over the PA system that the remaining members of the team are trapped on the sixth floor and whoever takes them out will be granted free, permanent residence. Now having to deal with Mad Dog, and Andi, Tama’s top henchmen, the rest of the gang, and building patrons, the team wholeheartedly fights back to take control of the building and destroy the gang.

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Upon viewing The Raid, you’ll get the feeling that you’re trailing behind the SWAT team watching everything unfold, it’s beyond exhilarating. Evans and crew did a lot of things right, but knew to do one thing better than the rest, and that is when to show something and knowing when not to. For example, you might feel deprived of unnecessary violence when near the beginning someone is murdered with an axe and nothing is visible. Be warned, what you’re asking for is brutality and gore. With The Raid: Redemption, you are rewarded for your bloodthirsty insanity, you just might have to wait a bit longer and work a bit harder. There is no masking of the simplicity or camouflaging what it lacks. The Raid: Redemption is an emotional tale that doesn’t need you to over think. Sit down, relax, enjoy the excessive carnage and the destructiveness of its ferocity.

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The Raid: Redemption: 8.5 out of 10.

Infernal Affairs (2002)

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Full of gut wrenching tension and mind boggling turns, Infernal Affairs is an action packed roller coaster bursting with intelligence. The film that Martin Scorsese modelled his Academy Award winning picture The Departed after, Infernal Affairs is just as obscure and witty. With a tremendous script bearing the weight of the films foundation, the architecture is left to its cast who perform the film in its complexity in perfect synchronization. Directed by Wai-keung Lau and Alan Mak, their ability to control and distribute the films oddities and delicate situations is masterful. Starring Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Infernal Affairs is a non stop choke hold that will leave you frantically begging for air with a grin on your face.

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Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung), a young police officer is sent undercover to be a mole in the mafia. At roughly the same time, Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), a young mafia member infiltrates the same police force. In the years following, Lau and Chan’s boss’s respectively begin to search for the mole in their ranks.

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Scorsese may have cut and edited the script to give it more balance and weaving plot lines, but there is no denying the original, Infernal Affairs. Being able to pay attention to the intricate emotions that come with being a mole, as well as an outcast, with no shortage of action packed sequences to even out any irregularities is outstanding. The wholeheartedness of the deception and earnest sacrifices each rat makes in full awareness of the consequences is believable. The soundtrack gives an extra shot of adrenaline to an already rapidly paced heart beat at the centre of Infernal Affairs. Filmed in a consistent grey darkness, both directors use shadiness to mirror the characters deceit and hammer their script home. Infernal Affairs is outlandish, profound, tricky, and sincere picture and it must be viewed by any fans of Scorsese’s remake.

Infernal Affairs: 8 out of 10.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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Where to begin with a film that is so entrancing and cataclysmic it sets off air raid sirens to everyone of its viewers senses. Christopher Nolan once again manages to spawn a villain more loveable than the superhero. As destructive and necessary his evil may be, Bane has a method to his madness and somehow this insanity is acceptable and cheer worthy. The scale of the entire film is stupefying and the entire ensemble is out of this world. Literally featuring one of the greatest casts ever assembled. Leading The Dark Knight Rises is Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Directed by the previously mentioned Christopher Nolan or otherwise known as the series saviour. The Dark Knight trilogy’s beginnings may have grown from a simple comic book, but what the cast and crew have done is not that of the imagination from a few colourful pages. The trilogy has shattered stereotypes and the box office, redefined a genre, and set the bar for every comic book film to follow.

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Eight years after the events in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Bale) is a recluse trying to recover mentally and physically from his arduous battles for Gotham. At the anniversary party of Harvey Dent’s death at Bruce’s manor, a seemingly normal maid steals from Mr. Wayne’s safe and proves elusive in his attempts to capture her. Bruce later finds out that this thief is career burglar Selina Kyle (Hathaway), however he is unaware that she is the least of his problems. Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) and a hot headed cop named Blake (Levitt) out on a call run into trouble. The commissioner is taken captive by the evil force named Bane (Hardy). While dealing with his financial problems with Mr. Fox (Freeman) and Miranda Tate (Cotillard), his return to the world, and the absence of Alfred (Caine), Bruce Wayne now must deal with the terrorist, Bane.

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One would have figured it safe to assume that it would be impossible for The Dark Knight’s follow up to compete, so most would watch The Dark Knight Rises with low standards. When in actuality the bar along with our expectations should have continued to rise (no pun intended). Yes Heath Ledger’s performance was delightfully mad and morally impartial, but he wasn’t the only aspect of that great cinematic achievement. Regardless of his tragic death, would the story have continued with the Joker? Calculating the way Nolan and his crew function, I think it’s a safe bet that they would have gone in a new direction. Therefore, for any of those who dismissed the sequel without giving it a chance or those not respecting Nolan and cast. it is your loss. The Dark Knight Rises, one of the best films of all time, let alone 2012 is an electric and stirring thrill ride that is deserving of our praise, its runtime, and to hold the Batman legacy for eternity.

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The Dark Knight Rises: 9 out of 10.