Raze (DVD Review)

RazeAfter she is drugged and abducted, Jamie (Rachel Nichols, Continuum) awakens to find herself in a concrete bunker where she meets fellow abductee Sabrina (Zoe Bell, Death Proof). Before long the two women discover that they are in a modern-day coliseum, where they and 48 other women have been selected to fight to the death in order to save both themselves and their loved ones. Co-starring genre favorites Doug Jones (Hellboy) and Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), director Josh C. Waller s RAZE is a no-holds-barred assault on the senses featuring some of the most brutal action combat ever put on film. In this contest, may the best woman win.




Jaime (Rachel Nichols) and Sabrina (Zoe Bell) have found themselves in a bit of a predicament. They have been drugged and have woken up in a concrete bunker God knows where. The motives of their capture are unknown to them and they’re not alone. What they do know is that they are just a small part of a twisted equation. The bunker is holding 48 other women and all of them have one thing in common… its fight or die time. The rules of the game are simple. Each woman fights to the death or one of her loved ones on the outside will end up dead. Whoever wins their respective fight grants their loved ones on the outside extra life.

I’ve been a fan of Zoe Bell since I discovered her in Death Proof all those years ago. I’ve been following her career and depending the project she picks she’s typically the best person in that particular project. Let’s just say it’s no different in Raze. Watching Raze was great and actually gave me flashbacks that I had recently seen in theaters and that was: The Raid 2. Let me explain the comparisons. Raze is an ultra-violent pit-fighting romp of a film that never pulls back on its violence. You feel every exacting punch to the face, skull, and body. People get their heads smashed into oblivion by fists, concrete floors, brick walls, with some added eye gouges for flavor. Like The Raid 2, the bloodbath will not stop, and it moves the story along at a brisk pace.

What was surprising about Raze was the level of talent involved, though they may not have been featured in the press kit; some familiar faces make an appearance. Rosario Dawson plays one of the captive females, as does the aforementioned Rachel Nichols, along with Doug Jones, as the creepy warden of sorts, along his equally creepy wife played by Sherilyn Fynn. Tracie Thoms (Death Proof reunion!) is also in there. Sabrina is our hero and it’s through her eyes that we see the action unfold. She’s been kidnapped and forced to fight and she keeps winning. Her sole motivation is that of her daughter who is threatened with death if she doesn’t fight.

All of the major players in the fights have stories to tell and some of the women are just there to get pummeled in order to move the story forward. Raze runs about 90-minutes in total, which is not bad at all for a niche genre picture like this. It recognizes that it’s a “midnite Grindhouse” flick and embraces the title. There are plenty of flinch inducing hits and kills and it doesn’t hold back, which is surprising since the film is technically rated R. I figured it had an UNRATED label. Color me shocked on that front.

 I’ve been saying that Zoe Bell is one of the best female action stars to hit Hollywood in the last 10 years. Hell, she should have been cast to play Wonder Woman but that’s another story. She has presence and intensity and the fact that she can really fight sets her above all of the poseurs in Hollywood who just think they can fight. One thing I did find odd, but that’s an editorial decision, is that Raze had 35 minutes trimmed from the final film (you can find them in the deleted scenes on the DVD), so it’s pretty streamlined. There are next to zero subplots and the film now focuses more on Sabrina and the fights.

Raze may not be one of the best flicks ever made (who care) but it ranked up there as one of the best fighting movies to hit Hollywood in the last year or so. Pair Raze with The Raid films and any other auctioneer in that vein and you will be a happy camper Hey, why are you still eating, didn’t I tell you to go get Raze?! 



Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Raze looks grimy and gritty when it needs to but when you get to see glimpses of the outside world inhabited by Doug Jones and Sherilyn Fenn’s characters it does a 180. Their scenes are a nice contrast of the filthy pits and the prison located in the basement of their compound. We go from low-lit interiors in the main house to cold, dank, and dark dwellings underneath.

Depth: The DVD format may be a leap or two away from Blu-ray but one cannot say that that this film on DVD didn’t deliver the goods in terms of visual quality. Raze literally pops from the screen, so you better duck when the punches start flying.

Black Levels: The dark interiors, and there are many are brought through with minimal crush. Keep in mind that this is NOT the Blu-ray edition being reviewed. All things considered it does a bang up job.

Color Reproduction: There is a very muted color palette until the blood starts to flow. Once that starts up it livens the place up as the blood contrasts on the female inmates white tank tops and then it really gets interesting.

Flesh Tones: Everyone is a bronzed goddess here. Flesh tones are exquisite all the way the around.

Noise/Artifacts: Minimal noise and artifacts are present but those are the limitations of the DVD format.




Audio Format(s): Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: It’s really cold down there in the pits and you will feel every pummeling as if it were your face getting smashed into the concrete wall. This is a reference DVD, so get ready to flinch at the crazy brutality of the hits.

Low Frequency Extension: Bass levels give every hit that extra “oomph,” which makes it that much more thrilling.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience levels are enhanced, as you can hear echoes of despair travel through the cramped confines of the prison pits.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean and crisp and you will be able to understand every word being said through all of the mayhem.



They loaded up Raze with a bunch of featurettes, interviews, and a ton of deleted scenes. The deleted scenes really seal the deal due to them giving a lot of backstory to some of the characters. Maybe in the future they can release a full-extended cut with these scenes. If it weren’t for some of redundancy of some of the features I would have given it a higher score. Still, this is a fully loaded DVD and should make special features aficionados very happy!

  • Commentary with Writer/Director/Producer Josh Waller, Producer/Actress Zoe Bell, Producer/Actor Andrew Pagana, and Writer/Producer/Fight Choreographer Kenny Gage – Here’s a really fun roundtable commentary by all the primary players of the film that include the writers, director, and the star of the film. It’s a lot of fun and you can tell they are happy to be there talking about their project.
  • Cast & Crew Interviews (SD, 15:00) – These interviews are with about 6-7 of the cast and crew and each run just under 2-minutes apiece. They all talk about their role in the film in front and behind the camera.
  • Behind the Scenes (SD, 12:00) – This is a behind the scenes look at the making of Raze with some cast and crew interjections.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 35:00) – They really went to work on the cutting room floor as they chopped off 35-minutes worth. There’s tons of backstory on some of the female participants and more about what goes on in the prison, etc.
  • Featurette (SD, 3:22) – Some of these making-of featurettes seem to overlap each other. This featurette also talks about what went into the making of the film.
  • The Fights (SD, 5:04) – This featurette focuses on the brutal fight choreography and physical training the actors had to go through to get into fighting shape.
  • Extended Fights (SD, 2:04) – This is an extended fight scene montage that’s edited differently. It’ still very brutal to watch.
  • Behind the Scenes (SD, 2:04) – Yep, here’s another one.
  • Gag Reel (SD, 4:52) – Here’s a gag reel of folks goofing around and messing up their lines. Fun seemed to be had by all.
  • Original Short Film (SD, 19:22) – The inclusion of the short film that Raze is based off of is interesting but in watching this and the first batch of deleted scenes earlier it looks like the short film has the majority of Rachel Nichols’ scenes – she was the main character and Zoe Bell was already in the pit. It’s very interesting to look at, because when you watch this short film and the main feature you will see that the differences are quite jarring.
  • Alternate Photo Gallery – A few posters and artwork that were not used during promotions.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:50) – Here’s the final theatrical trailer that sells it as a pit-fighting movie.
  • Toronto Film Festival Trailer (SD, 1:46) – Here’s the TIFF trailer and it plays more like a thriller than a fighting film.
  • Tribeca Film Festival (SD, 1:37) – Again, this trailer plays more like a thriller than action film.




Raze was a lot of fun! It was brutal, had people that I liked in it, and it wrapped up in a pretty satisfying way. Is it a great film? Nope. It is what it is and it’s valid just for that. As I mentioned before I got a very Raid-ish vibe off of the film in terms of its extreme violence but it really does serve to move the story forward. The technical specifications on this DVD are impressive as are the special features. This is grind house – exploitation cinema at its very best. I hope it hits revival houses sometime soon since this flick deserves to be seen with a crazy crowd! For now, go out and get the DVD, because Raze is crazily recommended! 

Order Raze on DVD!



Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Raze (DVD Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Three things…

    1. Had lots of fun with this flick!
    2. Wish Rachel was in it longer 🙁
    3. And GD! Where’s the Blu-ray release?!!! I have to buy the HD version on iTunes.

    BTW…check out this video the girl on girl body count here reminds me of Raze, and it’s a great catchy song after a few listens (closest female to Kurt Cobain like commanding presence) http://youtu.be/_KSGKWrgjaQ