Review: THE RAID 2
In the midst of all the touchy-feely, dramatic films of Sundance, fans were served up a film to break up the monotony of the usual “Indie” films that the film festival is known for. This little gem of an action film not only blew away it’s viewers, but cemented its status as one of the greatest action films to hit screens in recent years. You’ve probably already seen numerous reviews for The Raid 2, and most of them have been very enthusiastic and heavy on the praise. I can assure you that every bit of it is warranted. Gareth Evans took what worked in the first film- non-stop, bone crushing action- and added a more complex plot and some stellar camera work, with the end result being a stunning actioner for the ages.You won’t find anything in this review that hasn’t been seen in the trailer by the way, so things won’t be spoiled for you. So read on, fans of ass kickery!
While the first film’s focus was to give viewers a martial arts movie filled with creative and effective action scenes and Evans gave us that and more. With this sequel, he’s added a story that helps move the film along and offer a bit of a breather from all the good stuff. Taking placer literally hours after the close of the first installment, Rama, played once again by Iko Uwais, is approached by the head of a small under cover unit to join his ranks. His main goal is to rid the city of the ever-growing crime syndicates, starting with the numerous corrupt cops, which we witnessed in The Raid: Redemption. In order to do this, Rama must be placed in a prison and forced to befriend the son of one of the city’s most powerful bosses. Yes, the story is familiar and straightforward, but let’s face it, this is not a film you make a point to see because of the story.
It’s at this point the action takes off, starting with a scene filmed entirely in a bathroom stall, in the type of close-quarters-type scene that Evans does so well. From there, were jump to one of the most chaotic and messy (in more ways than one) fight scenes in the prison yard. It all just keeps going from there, introducing some very intriguing and entertaining characters, each one- villain or hero- more unique than the next. The climactic battle, which has already gained a reputation as one of the most epic fight scenes to ever grace the silver screen, is nothing short of breath taking. It is one of the most clean (not that kind of clean) and precise sequences I’ve seen in some time. In the final sequence of the first film, you found yourself cheering for the heroes, which is what you’re supposed to do. But with this one, you find yourself cheering for both of them, wanting them to keep going to give you more! The film closes in a bloody, face-exploding finale, with you searching for your breath and a cigarette, relieved from the orgy of blood and violence you’ve been subjected to.
Which brings me to my next point. The film we watched last night was a cut that has yet to be submitted to the MPAA for a rating. I’ve decided that, once they pick their jaws up from the floor, will have to piece together a whole new combination of letters and numbers to give this a rating. The Raid 2 makes the first film looks like a Disney flick. I’m certain even Quentin Tarantino would be in awe of the violent, yet creative ways people meet their end here. A whole new slew of weaponry is included here, with a few of the highlights include the use of a couple of hammers being methodically used to dismantle a protective posse, which is cut with an assassin using a baseball and bat with sickening accuracy. Naturally, the film will need to be heavily edited before it arrives in theaters, but I have no doubt that Evans will deliver a film with no less impact than this cut.
The story is a vast improvement over the first film, adding more depth and needed character development for all involved. The addition of subtle comedic elements helps lighten an otherwise heavy film, as do the over-the-top baddies. There are some moments of confusion that become hard to follow at times, but it all comes together in the end, leaving you with the satisfaction of closure. Fans of the first film will no doubt love this film. Action fans in general will be quite pleased as well, assuming a little blood, gore and a quick scene of a strap-on don’t offend you.
The Raid 2 is slated for a March 28 release, with Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Yayan Ruhian, Julie Estelle, Tio Pakusodewo and Oka Antara starring.