Well, I promised something awesome for today and it doesn’t get much more awesome than this. When I wrote the review for The Raid: Redemption, there was a lot of confusion as to whether or not that was the original or the sequel. It’s definitely confusing that it’s titled that way. The Redemption insinuates there’s something we already know about that needs redeeming, which leads us to believe it’s the sequel. Regardless, The Raid: Redemption is the original; the sequel is simply titled The Raid 2 (sometimes it is called The Raid 2: Berandal). After the review of the original, I received a lot of requests for a review of this one, and I do what I can to make you guys happy. So, hold on to your butts (Jurassic Park reference), this movie is quite the ride.
The Raid 2 picks up right after The Raid: Redemption ends. Rama (Iko Uwais) has been taken to an abandoned warehouse and is being told by the cops that he has to work with them to take down some more mob bosses before they come after him and his family. He initially declines, but when he finds out that his brother has been murdered by one of these gangsters, he decides to go undercover before anything can happen to anyone else in his family. He tells his wife he will only be gone for a couple months, gets his things together and heads out. He’s put into a prison so he can get close to one of the main mob boss’ son, who is in prison at the time. Once he is in there, he finds out that nothing is as it seems and he spends the next two years there. When he gets out, the police still demand that he work undercover and expose the corruption in the police force. With no other choice, Rama does everything he can to complete his task, not blow his cover, protect his family and stay alive.
It may seem like that was a pretty lengthy plot synopsis but it’s only a fraction of the movie, which runs at about 2½ hours. This is a long time for an action movie, and if there’s anything negative to be said about this movie, it’s that there’s a bit of sensory overload happening towards the ending. You start to become desensitized to the violence, because there are just so many brutal moments. I saw it when it first came out but stayed up late last night to rewatch it so I would be able to write the review this morning before work. Although the run time is so long, it didn’t feel like 2 hours, it just felt like that was the amount of time that was needed to tell the whole, bloody story. I started to think, “Enough is enough! Leave the man alone!” towards the end but I never, not for an instant, wanted to look away.
The story is so powerful and the action just blows me away. I cannot get over the talent and dedication that these actors have. One of the scenes in this movie that sticks with me the most is a scene where Rama is in prison and he is looking at an outline of a man that he has drawn on the wall in his cell. He gets up, obviously hurt from a fight the previous day that was about twenty against one, wraps his hands in bandages, advances towards the outline and proceeds to start honing his martial arts skills, punching the silhouette until his hands are bleeding and the wall starts to crumble in places. The pure dedication and determination demonstrated in this scene perfectly sets the mood for the rest of the film.
The fight choreography, Indonesian fighting style Pencak silat, is once again incredible and unparalleled. I’ve seen a lot of brutal moments in movies, but there were so many in this film, it was hard to watch at times. In some Hollywood action films, the fight scenes are so obviously choreographed that it takes you out of the movie completely. The villains are just a means through which the hero can showcase his skills (I felt this way about John Wick). Rama has so many incredibly talented adversaries in this film, that I didn’t get that feeling at all.
Director Gareth Evans, had quite the task on his hands to create a movie that was even remotely close to the innovation and awesome action sequences that The Raid: Redemption had. He delivered in spades. He developed a script that had even more depth, created characters with clear moral struggles and amped up the action (how is that even possible?). This is an incredible movie and it’s (dare I say?) even better than the original. Give it a watch and let me know your thoughts.
Here’s the trailer: