Review: ‘The Raid 2’ stays on the attack Special

Posted Apr 11, 2014 by Sarah Gopaul
‘The Raid 2: Berandal’ picks up where the last film left off, sending its protagonist deep undercover to gain evidence against crooked cops and their associates.
Iko Uwais in a scene from  The Raid 2
Iko Uwais in a scene from 'The Raid 2'
Entertainment One
The Raid: Redemption was applauded for its fast-paced, high intensity fight sequences that surpassed anything produced by Hollywood. It even appears to have inspired the design for Dredd, which attempts to harness a similar vibe. The announcement of a sequel helmed once again by writer/director Gareth Evans promised an exciting return to the breakneck action that wowed audiences the first time around. The Raid 2: Berandal delivers, but it tries to unnecessarily add narrative depth to the package too.
Picking up moments after the first film concluded, an injured Rama (Iko Uwais) seeks help from a cop he's been told he can trust. He in turn convinces Rama to go undercover, infiltrate one of the city's top two crime families and weed out police corruption. He befriends Uco (Arifin Putra), the reigning prince, in prison and is made his closest confidante upon their release. But the war for more power never ends and it pulls everyone into its wake.
Once again the action is choreographed by stars Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, who doesn’t make an appearance until the latter half of the movie. Thus, audiences are treated to the same bone-crunching, heart-stopping, gasp-inducing battles that originally kept them transfixed on the screen. Only this time, they’ve worked to outdo even the most impressive stunts from the first film. Prior to the film’s release, fans were given a taste of what to expect in the “Hammer girl subway fight” video, which definitely demonstrated they upped the ante – a statement that holds true for the entire movie and is equally illustrated by the baseball assassin. Still, while the first film was one astounding fight sequence after another, this picture tries to incorporate a little more storyline between the amazement.
Julie Estelle in a scene from  The Raid 2
Julie Estelle in a scene from 'The Raid 2'
Entertainment One
Having established the subject of police corruption in the first film, this narrative attempts to build on that concern; though it is put on the backburner for most of the movie. Instead, focus is placed on the internal conflicts of the Bangun family and the ruthless ambitions of young up-and-comers such as Uca and the unaffiliated Bejo (Alex Abbad). These can generally be viewed as elaborate interludes between the mind-blowing clashes. However, ambition in this industry tends to lead to plenty of bloodshed so there is no shortage of broken bodies or carnage.
The action in this movie is not blurred beyond recognition as it is in many Hollywood blockbusters by rapid editing and too close close-ups. The choreography is painstakingly planned so the stunning intricacies of every punch, kick and slash can be seen and cringed at.
It’s not necessary to have seen the first film to follow the storyline’s continuation in the sequel, but if good martial arts pictures carry any interest then make a point to see both movies.
Director: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and Arifin Putra