ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Raid 2 (2014)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Gareth Evans

Starring:
Iko Uwais/Rama
Julie Estelle/Hammer Girl
Arifin Putra/Ucok
Yayan Ruhian/Prakoso
PLOT-CRUNCH
After the first film, tough cop Rama (Iko Uwais) goes undercover and enters the mob in the name of uncovering crooked cops i.e. he kicks some ass, then kicks a bit more ass and then he kicks lots of ass!
THE LOWDOWN
I was a huge fan of Gareth Evans THE RAID which to me played out like a grisly videogame, going from level to level to level, each bigger, harder and nuttier than the next until reaching the big boss. For the sequel, as opposed to pulling a Die Hard 2 and doing the same thing as the original but in a new location, Evans pulled a Die Hard 3; taking our lead character and throwing him into a new kind of adventure. So did it work? DAMN STRAIGHT IT DID!

THE RAID 2 began hours after the first one ended, it wiped the slate clean in terms of the surviving characters from the first film and then gunned forward into a new direction telling a new type of story while upping the ante on the action get-downs. I guess the best way I can describe the THE RAID 2 is take INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002) and hop it up on Rage-Roids! The story here was much more ambitious (and confusing – more on that later) than the original; the characters, situations and relationships all way more developed as well. Now, I’m not gonna bullshit you, although the story had me engaged throughout, the main reason I was sitting in that seat was to witness some insane fist-to-cuffs and boy was I served in that department. Evans went the more is more way with his fight sequences. They were long, set ib varied groovy settings (dug the subway one with Hammer Girl going to town - MADNESS) intricate in their choreographies, grisly as f*ck and simply jaw dropping. I was exhausted for our hero Mara while watching this flick! That poor bastard gave the expression “ take a licking and keep on ticking” a new meaning.

Evans double-downed on the action set pieces as well! My fav one had to be the car chase which was exhilarating to say the least, ambitious and totally insane! You ever had one of them days when you crave to see a thug have half a clip unloaded into his face while holding on to a speeding car? If so, then you’ll be all good with this flick! Visually, THE RAID 2 was a style whore’s wet dream come true! Evans graced us with stylish framing, slow and ominous push-ins, powerful bird’s eye shots and a brilliant use of slow motion that put the whoop in whoopass! The characters were gripping too. Iko Uwais was mucho credible and likeable as Rama. He also destroyed baddies line no other! It’s just a matter of time before this chap crosses over to America and does an action flick here. Uwais was wells supported by Arifin Putra as the ambitious yet insecure mob boss Ucok. The latter’s performance was more layered than he probably will get credit for and I really enjoyed the arc of the character. Dude sold it!

And much like in the first film, we had a couple of cartoonish like characters; namely Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) and Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) who brought coolness, quirkyness and fear to the proceedings. Wait till you see Baseball Bat Man batter up and then ask for his ball back...lol...genius! And Hammer girl knows her way around the slaughter yard. Add to all that loving a rock solid supporting cast, a winning score (by Aria Prayogi Joseph Trapanese and Fajar Yuskemal) and all kinds of sly/inventive ways to maim gut, burn, gun down and stab thugs to bits and you get one hell of an entertaining, go for the throat and rip it the f*ck out action/martial arts and gore party! Any drawbacks? Some minor ones...

Running at 150 minutes, the flick was maybe 20 minutes too long. I was never bored or anything, but it sure made bathroom breaks a difficult task to achieve. And although I loved the return of actor Yayan Ruhian (who played Mad Dog in the original), with his moving subplot and fly fights, it was kind of odd seeing him play a different character here (Mad Dog was very memorable to me). It took me out of the story at times. I would have pulled the twin brother thing to explain his return (Double Impact style) and called it a life. Lastly, some narrative details were lost on me. I mean I got the gist of what was going down, but now and again little things would have me scratching my head like a monkey. So either the film was a tad muddled, I’m an idiot or both. You be the judge!

On the whole, THE RAID 2 gave me an eyeful, bitch-slapped me around, had my emotions run high and raised the action/gore/fight scenes bar and smashed it over my melon with glee! A MUST SEE! Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year so far!
GORE
Straight up, I don’t even know where to start with this bad-boy. Skulls crushed, face blown off, broken limbs, messy stabbings, nasty slashing... you get the picture! You will not crave any more toppings, this mofo is all dressed!
T & A
There’s was a quick scene with some topless lady wearing a huge black strap on (we all have our hobbies)... and that was it. This one begged for a strip club scene filled with strippers who strip!
BOTTOM LINE
THE RAID 2 pretty much had it all! A gripping and well developed story, a hero to root for, stellar acting, a slew of jaw dropping fight sequences, epic action scenes and gore galore! I actually cringed a couple of times while watching this one... this is one BRUTAL movie that relishes in what it is. Yeah its running time was a pinch too long and some details as to the story went over my pin head, but on the whole, THE RAID 2 started my day with a slash, bang, crash and a smile! If you enjoyed the first film, you’ll love this one too! Bring on THE RAID 3! Rama can take another beat down! I know he can!
BULL'S EYE
It took them 10 days to shoot the final kitchen fight scene.

Actor Arifin Putra gained 22 pounds for his role.

Iko Uwais real name is Uwais Qorny.
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10:00AM on 04/14/2014

Brutal

Caught this one last night and had a killer time. At 2hr 28 mins it's a bit long, but anyone who reaches that final 20-25 min mark will not be disappointed. Who knew aluminum bats did that much damage? Yayan Ruhian's hitman seemed a little out of place with the other characters I would have like him to have a more prominent part. Lastly, I loved the reception hall/hotel banquet room used in a couple scenes. The deep red and white was so clean and the area so quiet and then all this violent shit
Caught this one last night and had a killer time. At 2hr 28 mins it's a bit long, but anyone who reaches that final 20-25 min mark will not be disappointed. Who knew aluminum bats did that much damage? Yayan Ruhian's hitman seemed a little out of place with the other characters I would have like him to have a more prominent part. Lastly, I loved the reception hall/hotel banquet room used in a couple scenes. The deep red and white was so clean and the area so quiet and then all this violent shit breaks out.
Look for V/H/S 2's "father" Epy Kusnandar he's porn producer/drug dealer Topan.
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5:04PM on 04/13/2014

Waste of Time

What a waste of time.
What's with the close-ups of the fight scenes?!?!? The same mistake as a million other pieces of trash before this one. Horrible, horrible movie.
What a waste of time.
What's with the close-ups of the fight scenes?!?!? The same mistake as a million other pieces of trash before this one. Horrible, horrible movie.
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