In 2012, two movies were released that while inspired by different material, proved very similar in regards to plot and location; Pete Travis’ excellent Dredd and Gareth Evans’ martial arts extravaganza, The Raid.
Both are, for lack of a better word, brilliant. They perfectly encapsulate what late night movie watching is all about; no strenuous interwoven story arcs, just pure, unadulterated, chaotic, bone-crunching fun. So which is the better film?
We hope to answer this question using a rating system out of 20, with a maximum of 5 points able to be awarded in each of the following 4 categories: Violence, setting, characters and coolness. This is not a ratings system of high intellect, but we believe it will work.
So without further ado, let us begin…
Director – Pete Travis
Cast – Karl Urban, Rachel Wood, Olivia Thirlby
Plot (from IMDB) – In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.
“Negotiation’s over. Sentence is death.”
Yes, I’m aware that is the maximum score I can record, but such is the level of of wince-inducing, no-holes-barred graphic violence on display in this stunningly graphic action endeavor. Needless to say, this is not one to watch while digging into a meat-lovers pizza.
Highlight – Three low-lifes are skinned alive and thrown off the top story of a plaza building after being injected with SLO-MO.
After introducing us to a nihilistic, dystopian city scape, it does almost seem a shame to spend the rest of the running time in a plain shopping plaza/apartment block. Although, then Ma-Ma flicks the switch and we see exactly what his building is capable of.
Highlight – A homeless man refuses to budge when ordered to, and gets squashed by concrete shutter.
Dredd is played to perfection by a Rorschach-like Karl Urban, and Ma-Ma is a terrific villain, though the rest of the characters perhaps bar Rookie do leave a tiny bit of room for improvement. The technology expert with artificial eyes is certainly another worth noting.
Highlight – Psychic Rookie gets into the head of her thug prisoner and gives him a taste of his own medicine.
Comic books/graphic novels have now become the coolest material for filmmakers to source from, and as far as I’m concerned Dredd ranks right up there with Iron Man and Kick-Ass… though some might argue against that.
Highlight – Dredd finds an intercom and announces the following to a building full of crazed murderers:
“In case you people have forgotten, this block operates under the same rules as the rest of the city. Ma-Ma is not the law… I am the law. Ma-Ma is a common criminal; guilty of murder, guilty of the manufacture and distribution of the narcotic known as SLO-MO, and as of now under sentence of death. Any who obstruct me in carrying out my duty will be treated as an accessory to her crimes… you have been warned. And as for you Ma-Ma… judgement time.”
Overall Rating – 17.5/20 (according to Jordan)
THE RAID (2012)
Director – Gareth Evans
Cast – Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Johannes Taslim
Plot (from IMDB) – A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.
“Pulling a trigger is like ordering takeout.”
The violence featured in The Raid is frenetic and realistic. The style in which it occurs and unique way in which it assaults the viewer makes Evan’s film a complete violent masterpiece, unlike anything an unsuspecting cinema goer could’ve born witness to previously.
Highlight – Rama’s use of a broken door to finish off one of his attackers.
The use of a dank, rundown apartment complex gives The Raid a gritty and relatable setting. Not once is the viewer made to feel claustrophobic or bored by the setting with the characters either running up or smashing down the levels of the complex.
Highlight – The “meat room” where Mad Dog does his best work.
All the action in the world would not of been worth it if the film’s characters didn’t offer something for the viewer to grab a hold of. Thankfully, Evan’s has created a strong central figure in Rama and a vast array of great on screen villains lead by Mad Dog and kingpin Jaka.
Highlight – Mad Dog. The long haired, skinny little man sure can pack a wallop!
Coolness is something The Raid has in spades! From Evan’s fast paced direction t0 the staging of the fight scenes and the way in which Rama can use anything to take out his enemies. It has wise cracks, it has a soundtrack by a member of Linkin Park, it has all you want from an action film. The Raid really is about as cool as they come in the realm of action extravaganzas… a night in with the lads can’t go wrong with The Raid on and the volume cranked.
Highlight – The slow-mo shotgun scene that sets off a shootout in the dark like no other.
Overall Rating – 18/20 (according to Eddie)
So… I guess it’s decided. Both are awesome films, but The Raid happens to be just that little bit more awesome.