The Raid 2 is back and no action film will ever be the same again!
The film picks up immediately after Rama (actor- Iko Uwais) has conquered and escaped the criminal high rise floor by floor (in the first Raid film: subtitled Redemption). This time, he is asked to go undercover and infiltrate the infamous Jakarta crime family. Unlike the first movie, this time around Rama relentlessly fights his way around the mean streets of Indonesia. The fight sequences are nonstop and INSANE.
The heart of the Raid's success lies within the team of Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais. Their partnership is nothing short of magical. For the past few years, these two have created projects that seemingly top the last, which is hard to imagine when you witness the action on display. What is remarkable is just how, for an English director, Evans beautifully captures Indonesia and combines less well-known (as Indonesian films have traditionally not been as popular as other Asian markets) martial arts with the gritty crime cinema of the 1970s. Equally remarkable, Iko Uwais truly carries this film in some of the best dramatic moments that happen before the brutal fight scenes. Uwais definitely has leading man status both before, during and after demonstrating his crazy martial arts skills. Simply put, the two together are a dream team.
The fight scenes are each unique, original, and ridiculous.
At 2 ½ hours, the film could be slightly shorter, but it allows for one spectacular fight scene after another. The limitations of the first film, due to location and budget, are definitely overcome in The Raid 2. The fights are not limited to just Rama either. There are two characters that are quite small but mesmerizing: baseball bat guy and hammer girl. There are fights in prison yard mud, car chase, subway, club, etc—all over town. The greatest fight for me was at the end in a kitchen. It was the most memorable and mind blowing fight in cinema history; it lasts like 10 minutes and is straight hand to hand combat. Rama is pretty equally matched with his foe to create a full on brawl. I also had to turn away a few times because the gore and gruesomeness of the battles are worse than the first movie. Also, the masterful sound mixing in the film takes the sequences to the next level and ups the cringe worthiness.
A Raid 3 has been green lit, and I have no idea what could happen to Rama next or could unfold as a future action beat. If you liked the first film, you should completely enjoy the second one. If you HAVE NOT seen The original Raid (subtitled Redemption), please check it out now!! You do not NEED to have seen the original film to understand The Raid 2. Actually, Evans wrote this film first but went with the film Redemption first due to the budget constraints. Bottom line: even the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier was inspired by the work done on both Raid films -- that's how bad-ass and instant classic these films have become! What makes this film strong for a Saturday AM audience is that this movie embraces classic Western martial arts tropes and ups the ante with an explosive new direction. YOU MUST SEE THE RAID 2!
Gareth Evans is an action master, Iko Uwais is a superstar, and The Raid 2 is a must see treat full of action and carnage.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she has a degree in Film Studies and can usually be found in front of a screen.