Directed By: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Tio Pakusodewo, Julie Estelle
“You’ll be re-trained, given the skills to do what we need, when we need it.”
“I have to arrest you.”
In late 2011, I first came to know The Raid from small word of mouth on the Internet and some film festivals stating that it was completely bonkers and amazing. During this time I was still in college so as soon as it came to my town I immediately went to see it opening weekend as a double feature with Cabin in the Woods. Truly I was unprepared for the incredible film I witnessed that day. That was also the first and only time I’ve seen an audience applaud, not at the ending, but at the conclusion of the final fight. So now two years later the sequel has been put out, but does it live up to its predecessor? Oh hell yes.
Picking up mere hours after the first one ended, we find our main character Rama being questioned on the events of the apartment complex. After what essentially is, getting rid of the remaining characters from the first one and starting fresh, Rama is told by his captain that he must go undercover if he wants to protect his family and friends and to finally get rid of the head of the crime underworld. But to do that, he must make friends with the son of the crime boss…who is in jail. What follows is some of the best fighting action scenes in recent memory with some long take sequences that seriously give “Children of Men” a run for its money.
Action is mostly handheld and shaky but it works effectively on the scenes with cinematography that’s not afraid to get up close and go anywhere. Its clear that the filmmakers behind this had an extremely concise vision as to what they wanted and it completely shows, people we might just have a new Tarintino for modern film. At one point I was getting completely distracted at the horrific violence that was happening in the background (such as someone’s mouth being ripped open) that in any American film would be at the center of attention but here is just a subtle brushstroke on the canvas. I know I keep focusing on the action scenes alone, which might say something for the films plot.
The films plot is a little bit weird, not in the sense that its bonkers, rather that while watching the film I had difficulty keeping up as to what character was doing what but upon walking out it became clear to me what happened. So I’m not sure if it was the film being overly complex or if I just couldn’t keep up. I believe a 2nd viewing could hurt or solve this issue. My favorite characters in this film are the extremely violent and creative couple the “Hammer Girl” and “Baseball Bat Man” who steal every scene they’re in. Hammer Girl has a scene perfectly named for her weapon of choice, some razor sharp hammers. The scene seriously puts “Oldboy” to shame with creative, brutal, vicious use as she flays her attackers getting to her target. Her brother, the Baseball Bat Man (I’m not sure if they actually have a name) uses of course an aluminum baseball bat and baseball to dispatch his targets with calculation and brutal force. There’s also something sick in a funny way when he tells his target to bring back his ball when he throws it at them. Great stuff.
It’s to my knowledge that a third film is in the works and I seriously can’t wait to see where this director takes this genre and story further. Every complaint I have with the film is very minor and seriously gets overlooked in the long term of the film’s 150 minute long runtime, which never feels too long surprisingly. I personally can’t wait to own this on blu ray to watch it again and cringe at the brutal creativeness on screen. Definitely see The Raid 2.
p.s For those who might be worried that the trailer gives too much away, don’t worry, there’s still much to see in the film.
p.p.s Also for those who haven’t seen the first film (what is wrong with you? See It now!) you don’t have to see the first film to enjoy this one.