Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Raid 2

The Raid 2 is the follow up to the surprise hit, The Raid (or The Raid: Redemption). It had a whole lot of hype behind it, with the first film already considered an action classic by many fans of the genre. After watching the trailers for the The Raid 2 you could tell this movie was going to be different to the first, a sweeping, operatic crime epic whereas the first one was small and contained. It could have gone either way…but it didn’t and the end result is just astounding.

The Raid 2 picks up a few minutes after the first film ended. So needless to say, watch that one first! It jumps straight into things, with protagonist Rama being sent into prison to gain the trust of a mob boss’s son. This is where we discover the biggest difference between this film and its predecessor. The Raid 2 has a substantial plot, and a great plot at that. The first film had hints of a bigger story but mainly focused on Rama kicking ass through a block of flats. This time we follow Rama and meet a collection of interesting characters, unlike the first one which seemed to have so many character purely to have them killed off. This film strips away the first film’s simple, claustrophobic setting and becomes something a lot bigger. To many it may lose a bit of the simple charm that made the first one such a success, but to me it became a crime epic. Almost like an Indonesian version of a Scorsese film.

The action in The Raid 2 is just phenomenal. The fight choreography is so well done, it’s like watching a dance. It’s mesmerising and you can really see the hundreds of hours that went into planning it, and they were all worth it. The action scenes are fantastic, be it a gunfight in a warehouse, a car chase on a busy highway or a prolonged fistfight, each fight is even more imaginative than the last. The action scenes are perfectly paced as well. They stay around for the perfect amount of time and don’t outstay their welcome. They’re also so varied that each one feels like its own set-piece. They are placed throughout the movie well too, never allowing the pace to slow or the audience to get bored.

The directing is also superb. Action films live or die depending on the directing. If the audience can’t tell what’s going on then it’s a pretty crappy action film. That’s not a problem here. Welshman Gareth Evans directs each fight so well, you don’t get lost for a second. No matter how long the fight, you watch with your eyes open the entire time. It’s just such a sight.

The villains of this movie are worth mentioning. The two I’m thinking of are Baseball Bat Guy and Hammer Girl. These two are two classic villains, each with their own “thing”. You can probably guess what they are. The former kills people with a bat and baseball and the latter, well she has to be seen to be believed. They seem to be straight out of a classic action movie, and they are a lot of fun to watch.

The Raid 2 lives up to the hype set by its predecessor and surpasses it. It’s violent, it’s epic and it is astoundingly entertaining. It may be a tad overlong for some people (with a runtime of two and half hours), but fans of the genre will be more than happy. If you liked the first, you will defiantly like this one. And if you have not seen it go find both of them and watch them right now!

The Raid 2 gets the full five stars. I wish I could give it more. It’s an intense, often beautiful rollercoaster ride through the underworld of Jakarta. A must watch for action fans, but also recommended for everyone else.


Jack Bumby

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