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Review: The Raid 2

The Raid 2
Mar. 26, 2014by:
100%
7 10

PLOT: Following the events of the first film, unstoppable cop Rama now must go undercover and get close to the arrogant son of a gangster while a war between criminal syndicates dangerously looms.

REVIEW: THE RAID 2 is just about what you want from a sequel to THE RAID, at least on the bone-crunching front. Its fights are more convoluted and thrilling, its body count is higher, its weapons more innovative. If you felt walloped by the first film's many insanely elaborate beatdowns and stand-offs, you'll find your ass handed to you approximately a dozen times during this one. Director Gareth Evans is perhaps the most accomplished action choreographer on the planet right now; he has no equal that I can think of in terms of staging a fight sequence.

The film also attempts to be bigger and better in the story department too; unlike the first film, THE RAID 2 opens up its world to tell an undercover cop/feuding mob story with nods to THE DEPARTED and THE GODFATHER. It's an ambitious move by Evans, and certainly one that allows us to see him work a different skill set; clearly he wants to prove he's more than just a guy who's good at depicting artful fatalities. Indeed, any real connection to the first film is severed very early on, with Evans embarking on a path with deeper narrative themes of betrayal and honor.

The results are mixed on this front. The film's first act, which is mostly set-up and exposition, is a bit of a mess, with too many scenes chopped up and mixed up unnecessarily in order to tell a fairly straight-forward story. We learn that Rama (Iko Uwais), the hero cop from the first film, has now been recruited to go undercover in prison in order to get close to Ucok (Arifin Putra), the son of one of the city's biggest crime bosses. Once this is accomplished, Ucok will take Rama under his wing and get him a menial job working within the crime syndicate, where the cop will proceed to shatter it from within.

Of course, Rama's new "family" is engaged in a war, one with a sinister sort nabbed Bejo (Alex Abbad), who himself is secretly attempting to get Ucok to come play for his team. Ucok is one of those insecure mob sons who just can't seem to gain his father's respect, you see, and the enticement of making his own way and sticking it to dad is perhaps too good to give up. Poor Rama is caught in the middle of the double-dealing, left to beat down anyone who tries to kill either him or Ucok, and there are many such people.

Evans mostly over plots his tale, drawing out many of the confrontation sequences while also adding so many secondary characters that you'll be forgiven if by the halfway point you're not even quite sure who is working with whom and what's being discussed. There are whole subplots that could be deleted and the film wouldn't miss a beat. While the first film ripped and roared, never seeming to stop for a second, the sequel ultimately begins to feel chatty and plodding, and at 2 1/2 hours in length, one begins to wonder if it might be a case of too much of a good thing. I hate to be one of those people, the "just get to the action already" guy, but I can't deny that I was that guy at several points during THE RAID 2.

But that's not just a criticism of the meandering story; it's also a testament to just how good the action is. When Evans unloads, he does it for keeps. THE RAID 2 features several absolutely stunning battle sequences, none of which words can accurately describe. A melee in a muddy prison yard involving at least 50 men is the first full-on action scene in the film, and it's simultaneously unnerving and enthralling. An extended car chase involving multiple cars, machine guns and motorcycles proves Evans' action acumen isn't restricted to fistfights; it's the most flat-out entertaining car chase in recent memory. And the absolutely brutal mano-a-mano toward the finale with Rama and a knife-wielding henchman thoroughly amazes, and even puts the bravura three-man fight sequence that ended the first RAID to shame. This scene literally feels like it's never going to end - and you actually don't want it to.

It can't be denied that THE RAID 2 is often a thing of blood-soaked beauty, and fans of the first picture - and action movies in general - will find so much to get excited about here. Hell, even non-action fans will find it difficult to not appreciate the crazed brilliance Evans is capable of in his best moments. For the next round, and there certainly will be another, I'd like him to streamline his focus and cut out the fat, for I believe THE RAID 2's problems mostly stem from not wanting to let anything go. I imagine there's a perfectly thrilling cut of THE RAID 2 that's under two hours which keeps every fight sequence intact and just enough of the crime saga business to add dramatic intrigue. As it stands now, the film is often enjoyable as hell, and sometimes - surprisingly - a bit of a drag.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:05PM on 04/10/2014

Excited

There comes a times in every action movie fans life where a film come along and blows you away, reminding you why you love the genre. During my teens I was knocked for six with a trio of classic action films, Robocop, Predator and Die Hard. These films still stand high on any action fans top 10 list and rightly so. With CGI taking over from practical effects, the genre had become stale, apart from a few exceptions(The Matrix and Avatar to name a few)
Although action films were becoming carbon
There comes a times in every action movie fans life where a film come along and blows you away, reminding you why you love the genre. During my teens I was knocked for six with a trio of classic action films, Robocop, Predator and Die Hard. These films still stand high on any action fans top 10 list and rightly so. With CGI taking over from practical effects, the genre had become stale, apart from a few exceptions(The Matrix and Avatar to name a few)
Although action films were becoming carbon copies of the classics that preceded them, my faith in action was restored thanks to a man called John Woo.
Anyone who was amazed by The Raid, floored by its display of kinetic violence and balls to the wall mayhem might remember that they possibly experienced the adrenaline and jaw dropping experience before. I know I did. Seeing The Raid for the first time reminded me of the first time I watched John Woo's The Killer, and then Hard Boiled. Never before had I seen such violent, but beautiful images on the screen before me. The pause and rewind buttons on my VHS has never had so much use since the leg crossing scene from Basic Instinct. Woo gave Hollywood a wake-up call and it wasn't long before his style was imitated, but never matched (Woo himself states Peckinpah as his main influence) Not even Woo could match him earlier work in the US, despite mega budgets and A-list stars.
So as I age, now 40, my fav genre had changed to Sci-fi. My thirst for quality action was unquenched, occasionally I'd get a small taste, but nothing to reignite my love for action that I had as a teen.
Seeing The Raid for the first time reignited my love with napalm. Evans took what John Woo had created and amped it up tenfold, assuring me that the genre is far from dead. You don't need $100M to make a superb action film, you just need the talent, a simple idea and the fucking balls to run with it.
So as I watch the clock, counting down to The Raid 2's UK release, I think back to those 80's classics and Woo masterpieces and wait to have my mind blown once again.
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1:15PM on 03/26/2014

Hammer Time!

This totally succeeds the first. Great action and story. Can't wait for #3.
This totally succeeds the first. Great action and story. Can't wait for #3.
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12:58PM on 03/26/2014
I checked out the first one a couple days ago. the action scenes were amazing, but the story was kinda weak. I hope the story is better in the sequel, but even if it's not I'm sure the action will make up for it.
I checked out the first one a couple days ago. the action scenes were amazing, but the story was kinda weak. I hope the story is better in the sequel, but even if it's not I'm sure the action will make up for it.
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11:52AM on 03/26/2014
The overly convoluted storyline was foreshadowed in that terribly Photoshopped poster featuring 11(!) characters each with a distinct look (and probably their own (back)stories). The filmmakers shouldn't fret too much though, luckily for them typical action fans generally don't give a fuck about narrative, as is evident by the film's current IMDb rating; 8.7. The 7.6 from the critis on RT (and this review) seems to be more realistic.
The overly convoluted storyline was foreshadowed in that terribly Photoshopped poster featuring 11(!) characters each with a distinct look (and probably their own (back)stories). The filmmakers shouldn't fret too much though, luckily for them typical action fans generally don't give a fuck about narrative, as is evident by the film's current IMDb rating; 8.7. The 7.6 from the critis on RT (and this review) seems to be more realistic.
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11:16AM on 03/26/2014
This looks solid!
This looks solid!
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11:09AM on 03/26/2014

Excuse my language but

Heres a reviewer whos not busy sucking this movies dick and is able to give us an honest review and point out the flaws in the movie. Im glad its a solid review but sometimes going in with a 10/10 mentality and seeing that its a 7 or an 8 during the movie really detracts from the experience cuz youre
Starting to feel like it drags. I know we have to temper expectations but hard to do so when a 10 is dropped in our face.
Heres a reviewer whos not busy sucking this movies dick and is able to give us an honest review and point out the flaws in the movie. Im glad its a solid review but sometimes going in with a 10/10 mentality and seeing that its a 7 or an 8 during the movie really detracts from the experience cuz youre
Starting to feel like it drags. I know we have to temper expectations but hard to do so when a 10 is dropped in our face.
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12:45AM on 03/30/2014
It's really all subjective though. I personally didn't feel like the story or editing were convoluted at all. Everything seemed pretty straightforward. Were there elements that were unnecessary? Yeah, but they were still appreciated. I'd probably bump this up a bit higher, maybe an 8 or a 9 (I tend to shy away from full 10 or 4/5 star reviews, as I don't believe there's such thing as a "perfect" movie), but ultimately the story, plot developments and characterizations were all solid to me, and
It's really all subjective though. I personally didn't feel like the story or editing were convoluted at all. Everything seemed pretty straightforward. Were there elements that were unnecessary? Yeah, but they were still appreciated. I'd probably bump this up a bit higher, maybe an 8 or a 9 (I tend to shy away from full 10 or 4/5 star reviews, as I don't believe there's such thing as a "perfect" movie), but ultimately the story, plot developments and characterizations were all solid to me, and the action was amazing, so the few minor details that do nag at you (which really had nothing to do with the overall story/plot as a whole) don't nag very long because you're soon swept back into the awesomeness of everything else. But again, that's just personal opinion.
+0
10:40AM on 03/26/2014

Sweet

Can't wait for this, hopefully it will be showing in my area. Loved the first one, looking forward to more insane fighting
Can't wait for this, hopefully it will be showing in my area. Loved the first one, looking forward to more insane fighting
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