A few years back I declared The Raid: Redemption the best action flick ever! It was an upper cut to the nuts that was needed to kick-start my love of action movies. Years of Jason Statham flicks have left a bitter taste in my mouth and as much as I enjoy seeing the transporter flipping cars (possibly the worse scene in movie history… ) I had all but given up of this beloved genre. Writer/director Gareth Evans apparently felt that The Raid: Redemption wasn’t badass enough and went to all sorts of trouble to make sure The Raid 2 was even more badass than the first. Mission accomplished Mr. Gareth. Mission accomplished!
The Raid 2 picks up right where the original leaves off (while it’s not crucial, I recommend seeing The Raid: Redemption before sitting down with this one). Rama (Iko Uwais) learns that all the shit he went through in the first film was for nothing and all the survivors, beside himself, are killed off in the first 5 minutes. With his family in the cross hairs, Rama goes undercover to secure the safety of his family by taking down the criminal underbelly. Agreeing to have himself arrested, Rama befriends Uco, son to crime boss, Bangun, in prison. Rama intervenes during an assassination attempt leading to a prison riot that is arguably the best fight scene in the movie. It’s a hundred dudes laying into each other in the mud. I know, it sounds homo erotic, but trust me when I say it’s a brutal scene (Full Disclosure: Although the scene is not at all homo erotic, I was at half mass during it…. ).
With his place secured in the crime organization, Rama fades into the background and we get a look into how these crime families tick. That’s where one of my biggest complaints with The Raid 2 come from. We see Rama give up everything and become a hardcore criminal and then: Nothing. Well not nothing we get to see him in all his bone breaking ass kickingness, but I couldn’t help but feel Rama was put on the back burner for the crime. Not really complaining. You still get to see Rama do his thing and bust some skulls, but it felt like a waste to make him go to these dark place. Maybe Evans has some plan for the inevitable sequel. God I can’t wait!
Evans really knows how to write a compelling story and he flexes his writing chops with this sequel. The first film had a very basic plot with not much story to it.A basic set up tp watch some ass kicking. Only at the end did we get a glimpse of what Evans had in mind. He has a world of bad guys built up and makes them more than just punching bags for Rama. Which to be honest is the big selling point. Nothing more awesome than seeing a man kick another man through a pane glass window. Evans just gives reason to care that it happened.
Within the first 15 minutes it’s clear that The Raid 2 has a bigger budget and Evans uses every penny! Not a dime wasted. Everything here is bigger,better and more badass (the 3 B’s). The camera work is chaotic and fast paced that adds to the intense fight scenes, but never feels clumsy or jumbled (with these fight scenes I can imagine that would be easy). Matching perfect with an intense soundtrack that really gets the blood flowing. Speaking of blood flowing, the SFX are all topic notch. Evans has so many cringe worthy scenes here I don’t have enough bandwidth to support listing them. Throats are ripped out, heels are slashed, faces are slammed into walls and Evans never once flinches. He keeps the camera right on the mayhem and let’s the audience soak up in all its gory bliss.
I can’t get through this review without bring up Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man. I know that the characters names make you think of Kick-Ass or a more tongue in cheek type of film,but nothing about these two are tongue-in-cheek. They are scene stealing badassness and it’s a damn shame more time couldn’t be devoted to them. I would of never thought that a baseball and bat could be used the way it is and be serious, but it totally works here. The handful of scenes they are have set a new bar for movie villains and never has women ripping a man’s throat out with a hammer been sexier.
The Raid 2 is the greatest action movie. This is a fact and I will not debate it. Never before has there been white knuckle fight scenes of this magnitude. It’s a cliche and I know it gets tossed around a lot, but trust me when I say The Raid 2 sets a new standard for action flicks. Believe the hype and seek this one out. You do not want to miss it on the big screen.