The Raid 2 (2014)

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adfha’sig’pihrgpiWE’FPIH’piwehf’PIWHF – That was all I was able to say about this movie after watching it. Holy crap…

Rama must first survive prison, before he can go any further.
Rama must first survive prison, before he can go any further.

Picking up only a few hours after The Raid ended, Rama (Iko Uwais) is back in Jakarta and believes that he’s going to return home to his family. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be that easy because he is instead recruited to go undercover in a crime lord’s gang and must be sent to prison before anything else happens. After getting his family to safety, Rama is thrown in jail and is forced to fend for himself, while also needing to make the acquaintance of Uco (Arifin Putra), the crime lord’s son. After Rama saves his life, the two grow close and eventually are released. As a show of thanks, Uco’s father invites him over to discuss a proposition.

Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo), Uco’s father, deals with his business through a group of assassins and tough guys and because of the skill he’s already shown, wants Rama to join their ranks and aid his cause. Of course Rama agrees, but only because his life is on the line and he needs to figure out a way to stop operations. During his time in the group, Rama will never be able to hesitate when it comes to killing someone and he will never be able to show mercy. The deeper he gets, the more risky his operation becomes and things only intensify when there are rumors of war spreading between the other crime lords. With enemies using baseball bats, hammers, knives, and more, Rama is in for many more fights for his life.

The mysterious Bejo has something up his sleeve.
The mysterious Bejo has something up his sleeve.

The Raid 2 is hands down the best action film that I’ve ever seen, which is saying a lot because its predecessor held that title for a while. This film only ups the ante and most everything gets bigger and better. I was dumbfounded by most of what I saw in this film and it honestly left me exhausted by the end. Part of why I loved The Matrix and its sequels so much is because of the fight choreography and just how smooth everything looks. Unlike those films though, this film doesn’t use CGI for its fight scenes and that makes it all the more awesome.

Iko Uwais is a trooper and the ordeals he goes through in this film are unbelievably tough. Yet, he still manages to kick ass and take names in the process of having his own ass kicked. He never shows fear in his character and he never gives up and this is all seen in Uwais’ eyes as he fights, or prepares to fight. He’s one of the most skilled martial artists that I’ve witnessed in film and his passion for his craft if unbelievable. It doesn’t feel like he’s acting whenever he interacts with another character and when he’s fighting it’s one of the most sensational experiences to behold. He’s also taught me how to handle anyone in a fight, though I’m not sure if I’m quick enough or can deliver as many blows to the body as he can in a span of five seconds.

Rama must fight with all his will, in order to survive.
Rama must fight with all his will, in order to survive.

Director Gareth Evans also deserves some high praise, as he’s got a natural eye for action and a great sense of how to direct it. He played a great role in the choreography and his study of martial arts really shines through as you watch the camera sweep in-between fights. There was never any shaky-cam, nor were there any shots that lasted too long, or were cut short. Evans explores the characters facial expressions and gives us closeups when we need to see something pivotal. Be it a large warehouse, the backseat of a car, or a tight hallway, Evans direction is impeccable and really leaves a lasting impact.

Much like the first film, The Raid 2 almost feels like a video game at times. Only in a film, would you bad guys who use baseball bats and hammers to kill dozens of people. Well, a film or a video game and that’s what this film feels like a lot of the time. There’s a ton of combo moves used to kill enemies and you can almost imagine yourself pressing a certain combination of buttons on a controller, in order to flip over some guy and then break his back in the process.  Not only is the violence top-notch, but there’s also no shortage of blood in this film and that’s one of the things that I applaud. If you’re going to have hyper-violent sequences in a film, why not go all out? This will be a turn-off for many, but I thought it was awesome and it only made this film all the more intense.

STOP!... Hammer time!
STOP!… Hammer time!

I was always entertained with this film, but it definitely didn’t need to be two-and-a-half hours long. I’m all for the nearly ten minute fight sequences that leave your eyes glued to the screen, but the filler story didn’t do too much for me. I’m glad Evans wanted to include some type of story in his film, but it didn’t work out as well as it could have. Honestly, I would have been okay with minimal story and maximum action. If anything, the story made me lose some interest and some of the characters got on my nerves. This film is a rare case in which it’s mostly action and that mostly works for the film as a whole.

I would watch this film a dozen more times in the future, but I’d probably fast-forward through about a half-hour of the story that I really didn’t care for. I, like many others, am here for the stellar action and high stakes. In that regard, I was more than satisfied with this film and would recommend it in a heartbeat. Given its subject matter and level of violence, this film isn’t for everyone, especially the faint of heart. However, if you love action, violence, and incredible fight scenes, you’re not going to find a better film than The Raid 2. There are going to be a few scenes in this film that will rank among the best of the year and I have no doubt about that. This film is really something else entirely.

 

The Raid 2 Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG9uFX3uYq4

4 STARS!!!

4 / 5 stars     

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