The Raid 2: Berandal
Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.
I never truly bought into the great critical acclaim for ‘The Raid’, which is perhaps more down to my general indifference to martial arts than the actual quality of the film (which was clearly really well done), and I definitely preferred 2012’s similar (in premise anyway) Dredd, which was stylish and had a cracking soundtrack behind it. No such worries with Gareth Evans sequel though, this is bigger, bolder and better in every way, and the martial arts scenes have a bigger impact when they’re used more sparingly as opposed to the fight after fight nature of the first film (albeit that is driven by the premise more than anything else).
This is a much more expansive affair, taking things out of the tower block, and pitching Iko Uwais’ hero Rama as an undercover cop trying to integrate himself into the murky Jakarta underworld to root out corrupt cops. The scope of this film presents more time to introduce a multitude of interesting characters that really help to flesh out the world. Where the first film was pure adrenaline fuelled action, this manages to be a crime epic, without losing the action thrills from the first film. It also presents the opportunity for Uwais to show his range in the leading role, conveying a whole host of emotions throughout different parts of the film.
It would be impossible to review this film without mentioning the fight scenes, and they are truly outstanding. As I mentioned earlier, the scope of the film allows for a greater narrative drive which takes the emphasis of the fight scenes, but Gareth Evans doesn’t take his eye off the ball one bit, and these scenes are every bit as spectacular as those in the first film. The prison fight scene in the mud and the kitchen fight amongst the highlights. One slight criticism would be with the level of violence, which sometimes felt a little too much at times, primarily because of how real Edwards manages to make it look, but many people will think this a futile comment on a film based around violent fighting sequences!
Gareth Evans has expanded his world superbly in this terrific sequel, crafting vivid characters and drawing terrific performances from his cast. As mentioned above, if you liked the first film go see it, and if like me, you weren’t truly taken by the first film, also go and see it!
Directed By: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo, Oka Antara, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle and Yayan Ruhian