I loved the 2012 Indonesian action film The Raid. It was the most brilliant and inventive action film I had seen in years, and was my movie of 2012. But sequels are tricky buisness and don’t tend to live up to the original. Can The Raid 2 buck the trend?
Set almost immediately after the events of the previous film, Rama (Iko Uwais) is sent undercover in prison in an attempt to root out police corruption and becomes involved in the workings of a big crime family in Jakarta.
I’m glad Welsh director Gareth Evans stuck to his guns and decided to make this film rather than going to Hollywood and working on Die Hard 15 or whatever project they would have had in store for him. The Raid 2 was his passion project. Original titled Berandal, this script was considered too expensive to make when Evans first wrote it, so instead he put together a smaller, cheaper film and that is how The Raid was born. So it’s exciting seeing the script that started it all finally on the screen, and for the most part I’m not disapointed.
After the success of The Raid it would have been easy to alter this film to repeate that successful formula and have another garenteed hit. I’m glad Evans went with his vision. The Raid 2 is broader in scope, spanning years, multiple characters and complicated allianses. Ewo is given more room to show off his acting chops here as much as his fighting skills. The father/son crime family are an interesting bunch, with the father Bangin (Tio Pakusadewo) a more practical and reasonable crime boss than we’re used to seeing in this kind of movie, while Arifin Putra as his son Uco make a convincing little shit with high ambition and few morals.
The fighting is still as gory and inventive as the original, continuing its trend for using everyday objects as weapons. In this film we get bar stools, seatbelts and broom handles all used as weapons as well as the usual knifes and guns etc. There are some classic action scenes including a nail biting car chase and Rama’s rampage at the climax of the movie. For those who faint at the slightest bit of blood -stay away. It is incredibly gory and often shown in close up.
On the downside the film loses the urgency and claustraphobic tension that the original had. While I’m glad they didn’t have Rama stuck in another building for an hour and a half its still is not quite as nerve wracking as the original. It is also suffers from being way too long. Still it’s probably one of the best action films you’ll see this year.
Rating -4/5- the dream team of Iko Uwais and Gareth Evans continues to impress