Review – The Raid 2

Poster for 2014 action film The Raid 2

Genre: Action 
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 11th April 2014
Runtime: 150 minutes
Director: Gareth Evans
Writer: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Yayan Ruhian, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle 
Synopsis: A cop goes undercover in an organised crime dynasty in an attempt to bring order to the chaotic Jakarta underworld.

 

 

In 2012, Welsh director Gareth Evans shocked the world with The Raid – his remarkable Indonesian martial arts movie. Confined to the most brutal tower block on the planet, the film was a symphony of chaotic ultra-violence and pitch perfect fight choreography. Two years later, Evans has broken new ground once again with his utterly masterful sequel – The Raid 2: Berandal.

Rama (Iko Uwais) is embedded in prison in order to get close to Uco (Arifin Putra), who is the heir to the criminal empire of underworld boss Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo). As he becomes part of the crime world he is fighting against, Rama must deal with a complex web of brutality and betrayal as the entire underworld structure begins to shift.

The criticism levelled at The Raid by many was that it lacked plot and characterisation. The Raid 2 feels like a direct answer to those concerns, with a sprawling setting and characters who go on a real journey during the expansive two and a half hour running time.

| "It will be a few months. You can’t know where I am. And I can’t be seen anywhere near you."

At the centre of the chaos is young actor Iko Uwais. He has already proved his remarkable martial arts skills, but The Raid 2 allows him to demonstrate a complex emotional depth that really illustrates his skills. Equally impressive is Arifin Putra, who is able to perfectly convey the nuances and shades of grey that affect his disgruntled criminal heir.

Whilst the first film was a martial arts showcase, this is a complex crime drama in the vein of The Godfather Part II. Evans, also on scripting duties, crafts an intricately woven, dense story that consistently twists in unexpected directions. No one’s loyalties are clear and little is ever certain. Even at 150 minutes, not a second of celluloid is wasted.

But, as with the sequel, the real beauty is in the beating. The first film was a triumph for fight choreography, but The Raid 2 takes it to the next level. Whether it’s an early muddy prison scrap or a hammer battle on a crowded subway, the violence here is inventive, innovative genius. A climactic kitchen battle must rank amongst the best fight sequences ever. Here, violence is both grubby and balletic in equal measure. It’s beautiful.

Based on their ingenious scrapping alone, the brilliantly named Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl definitely deserve a spin-off.

| "You apologise? In their language! In our land! Where is your honour?"

By the time the dust settles and the credits roll, The Raid 2 leaves an enormous bootprint on the face of its audience. It’s a film that makes sure it just cannot be forgotten.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

In a world in which sequels are too often a bland retread of their predecessors, The Raid 2 is refreshing in its decision to change, innovate and revolutionise its genre.

Gareth Evans has cemented himself as one of the action genre’s best directors and Iko Uwais has now truly arrived as an exciting actor.

The Raid 2 is brutal, balletic and blindingly brilliant.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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