RAID, THE 2
Rookie Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) thought the battle was over and was finally able to resume a normal life after the last raid, fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen - a fight that left the bodies of police and gangsters piled in the halls. He couldn't have been more wrong. Formidable though they may have been Rama's opponents in that fateful building were small fish in a much larger pond. With Rama's triumph over the small fry, he has attracted the attention of the predators farther up the food chain. Rama now needs to protect his infant son and wife. To do so he must go undercover to enter the criminal underworld and climb through the hierarchy of competing forces until it leads him to the corrupt politicians and police pulling the strings at the top. He takes on a new identity as the violent offender "Yuda." In prison he must gain the confidence of Uco (Arifin Putra) - the son of prominent gang kingpin Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) - to join the gang himself, laying his own life on the line in a desperate all-or-nothing gambit to bring the whole rotten enterprise to an end.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fans of The Raid (2012) will flock to see what Gareth Evans has come up with for the sequel and they won't be disappointed, if they are looking for fierce close combat and a variety of slash/bash/slice/gouge weaponry. But The Raid was especially effective for being set at a single location, a cinematic device intended to maximise the action tension. The Raid 2 is more traditional in its approach to what is, after all, an unoriginal plot: undercover cop infiltrates feuding gangs of organised crime in Jakarta.
The plot serves only to provide dramatic context for the central character, Rama (Iko Uwais) to make his hero's journey, overcoming deadly characters and situations in his path. The much used plot has a particular appeal for filmmakers for its morally acceptable franchise, in which good cop can be bad cop.
But Evans does escalate both the level of the violence and the extent of it. As we know, there are different kinds of screen violence, ranging from auto-destruction and building demolition to war violence and gangster-shooting violence. And then there is the gold plated, hand to hand, face to face violence favoured by Asian cinema, in which martial arts and martial hand weapons are given free reign.
The many extended fight scenes stand out for being astonishingly choreographed and shot: we see the fights in a series of mid and close up shots, so much so that if becomes lifelike to a disconcerting degree. (Even some presumably hardened critics in the preview screening gasped ... or laughed in appreciation of the extremes.) The climactic stoush (won't spoil it by telling who v who) is an extraordinary sequence, both for its length and for its viciousness.
Notably, though, the characters are well defined and performed: Iko Uwais, a compact bundle of brawn, provides enough vulnerability to make him a three dimensional character, as do the other key players, from Tio Pakusadewo as crime boss Bangun, Arifin Putra as his over ambitious son Uco, and Yayan Ruhian as the icy killing machine, Prakoso.
Alex Abbad cuts a terrific figure as rival mobster Bejo, in dark overcoat, dark sunnies and a black cane to support his limp, and Oka Antara is excellent as the ever-present ERka at Bangun' side - with a secret.
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RAID, THE 2 (MA15+)
The Raid 2: Berandal
CAST: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Julie Estelle, Donny Alamsyah, Oka Antara, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo
PRODUCER: Nate Bolotin, Ario Sagantoro, Aram Terzakian
DIRECTOR: Gareth Evans
SCRIPT: Gareth Evans
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matt Flannery, Dimas Imam Subhono
EDITOR: Gareth Evans
MUSIC: Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese, Fajar Yuskemal
RUNNING TIME: 148 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 28, 2014