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The Raid 2 doesn’t hold back. The film begins with an open grave, which sets a theme good and early. Then there’s a close-up shotgun firing into a human head and with the bang THE RAID 2 is plastered across the screen in huge blood-red letters. The Raid 2 is here and the filmmakers haven’t softened since the success of the first film, strap in.
If you’re the type that likes your films to be reserved, nontense and bloodless, then this is literally the last thing for you. If you’re into no holds barred, blood, crushed faces and a lightning-paced kick-a-thon, then this is exactly what you need.
The Raid 2: Berandal was written before The Raid. It was a bit ambitious however and they couldn’t get the budget. So what they did, ingeniously, was write a new movie called The Raid, made that well enough to be an international hit, and then rewrote The Raid 2 to make it fit as a sequel. And it does, it’s very fitting indeed. If you liked the first movie then you’ll also like this. There is much more plot going on, there are more characters, and more minutes – admittedly I did think it was going to finish a few times before it actually did, but I was never bored.
The fight scenes are, again, spectacular. I’m not too sure how someone even dreams up these sequences, let alone how anyone pulls them off. It’s incredibly quick, tough, violent and gory. And tremendous if you’re not squeamish. There are plenty of badass new characters for you to sink your teeth into, and many of them bring their hobbies into their fighting, e.g. baseball and D.I.Y (there’s no teeth being sunk into anything in the film and yes, I did say ‘badass’).
This sequel is great for many reasons, one of which is, no offence to Die Hard, that it doesn’t try to do the same thing. Rama does not find himself stuck in another criminal-infested building, with no choice but to kick his way out. It’s not more of the same but bigger and badder. This time around, Rama (Iko Uwais) has just gotten out of the building where The Raid took place, he’s debriefed by, basically, Internal Affairs, and coaxed into going undercover (via prison) to get ingrained in the criminal underworld to bring down the crime syndicate and the corrupt police who allow crime lords to do what they please. We’re told that it’s easy to buy cops with a little money and a lot of pussy.
It’s again written and directed by Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans, and he displays the same dedication to choreography and blood splatters as he did in the first one. Gareth Evans is now based in Indonesia. He was there filming a documentary when he met Iko Uwais in his Pencak Silat martial art training hall. He was so taken by Uwais’s martial arts acting ability that Evans (rudely) asked him to quit his job as a driver so he could make him a movie star. This is the third movie they’ve made together (he also made one directed by Keanu Reeves – Man of Tai Chi). Gareth Evans knows how to shoot an action scene and Iko Uwais knows how to fight; they work well together.
The fact that The Raid 2 is not set within one building means they needed a bigger budget, but it also gave them a bigger scope for interesting fight scenes. Whereas The Raid made great use of rooms of varying sizes, corridors and staircases; The Raid 2 can make use of a rain-soaked mud-yard, cars, nightclubs, prison toilets and seedy porn studios, to name a few.
Rama has spent two years in prison by the time this film really gets going, so, without over-indulging in superlatives, let’s just say he’s a badass (yep). Rocky practices on meat in a fridge, Rama practices on a crude drawing on a concrete wall. Bad. Ass.
If The Notebook is your favourite film, go and rewatch The Notebook. If not, get out and see The Raid 2. It’s awesome, savage and ruthless.