"THE GREAT RAID" is a story revolving around the 6th Ranger Battalion's raid on a POW camp to save 500 prisoners. The actual story is extremely compelling enough on its own and it's a shame that the filmmakers felt the need to throw in a mediocre subplot involving a love story that just doesn't work on any level. There's one cliche' after another and Joseph Fiennes, a typically fine actor, is completely wasted here. Benjamin Bratt is perfect for his role as a Lieutenant Colonel, but he's not given enough to do, and that's even more maddening when considering there's so much needless footage here. A film about the planning, challenges and ultimate execution of the "GREAT RAID" should be gripping! Unfortunately, much of the film is just plain dull. After a terrific yet horrifying scene depicting the horrors that the Japanese are inflicting on their prisoners, necessitating the need for a daring raid, the film comes to a screeching halt. Every time a sequence begins to feel compelling, the film abruptly heads in a predictable direction.
Still, there must be plenty of fans, as there have been two versions released on dvd already.
BUENA VISTA has provided the DIRECTOR'S CUT for this BLU-RAY debut. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intact. The image is spectacular! Especially when compared to the standard dvd, one recognizes the incredible detail offered on BLU-RAY. The night sequences on dvd suffered from grain, but now these scenes offer incredible definition and detail. The blacks and grays are deep and distinguished, no matter how dark the setting is.
Thankfully, BUENA VISTA has chosen to follow SONY's lead and ignore WARNER BROS' with their offering of PCM 5.1 sound. "THE GREAT RAID" isn't an extremely aggressive mix, but it does have plenty of ambient effects that draw the viewer in, at least until the sluggish pacing, puts him/her to sleep. The incredible definition heard in this track is evident throughout due to a variety of subtle, yet impressive effects. Of course, whenever an action sequence happens, all the speakers kick in and the bass packs a huge punch!
Unfortunately, the terrific documentary offered on the dvd hasn't been included. A director's commentary from that dvd has been carried over.