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The Raid / Dark Shadows

By إبن البيطار (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOnce again courtesy of a lovely grandmother, we managed to escape for a couple of hours cinema time. Two films coincided well timewise so we decided to cram them in.

The Raid: Redemption

“YYYAAAAAHHHHH!!!!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Who cares?

See it if you like: Lots and lots of lovely bloody violence

OK, so there is a plot. 20 Indonesian police storm a block of flats under the control of a drug baron and experience far more resistance than they anticipated… and no way out.

However, the plot’s wrapped up in some of the most intense and bloody violence I’ve seen in a film of this ilk. Imagine something like Die Hard meets Hostel starring Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa. Only it’s not them who are in it, it’s a bunch of incredibly talented Indonesian martial artists and actors.

Unusually, from my point of view anyway, the director (and writer) Gareth Evans is Welsh. How he ended up making this film on the other side of the world is beyond me, but I’m glad he did. It’s dark, gritty, bloody, edge-of-the seat action magnificence. At times right after some of the combat scenes I – with no exaggeration –  found myself wanting to applaud. I settled, for the most part, with cackling with sadistic glee.

I’m glad to see that reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for The Raid, and it’s great to see a moderately low-budget Indonesian film with subtitles getting a wide release across the UK. Certainly Momentum Pictures are doing a better job than Revolver Entertainment are with their farcical plans for Iron Sky… Just a heads-up there for other indie film companies!

Iko Uwais and the rest of the cast will be pretty much unknown in the UK, I would expect. After The Raid, I hope they go on to be better recognised and with luck we might see some more of their work. Simply breathtaking athleticism, top notch make-up and effects, a taught script and a pace that pauses for breath only fleetingly over its course.

If you like action films then this is without a doubt the 2012 definition of “must see”.

Dark Shadows

“Welcome home, Barnabas Collins.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: spurned witch turns her eye candy into a vampire and buries him for 196 years. He awakes in the 1970′s…

See it if you like: quirky comedy horrors with excellent effects and cheesy humour

I was aware of the old TV show when I heard of this film, but as far as I know it’s never been released in the UK. I gather the original was a lot darker than this update, but having nothing to compare it with I can only comment on what I thought of the 2012 version.

Tim Burton is known for his weirdness – and also for casting Johnny Depp. Both are present here, Depp taking the lead role of involuntary vampire Barnabas Collins. Cursed for breaking the heart of Angelique (Eva Green), he escapes from buried imprisonment in 1972 and finds his mansion home in disrepair, populated by what little remains of his descended family.

Discovering that Angelique is also immortal and currently head honcho in the town, he vows to bring her down and revive his family’s fortunes.

Most of the laughs in this film come from Barnabas’ unfamiliarity with the world he is living in and his unwanted attraction to his nemesis. There is a dollop of erotic humour, but the majority is just nice and silly with a small amount of slapstick thrown in for giggles.

Visually, it’s a treat with some lovely effects, costumes and sets. The acting’s as good as you would expect from the cast, and the story’s OK if a little “by the numbers” and over-long by about 15 minutes.

Enough laughs to keep most people going, though I gather the reviews are not overly favourable. A shame as it’s simply just a good, fun movie.

 

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The Raid / Dark Shadows by Mosher'sUnimaginativelyEntitledBlog, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.