Posted April 5, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

The Raid 2 Review


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Quite how any of the actors (or stuntmen for that matter) make it to the end of a shoot that includes so many elongated and gruelling bouts of fisti-(and footy)cuffs is beyond anyone’s comprehension. Except maybe Gareth Evans – the brainchild of The Raid films thus far.

Literally hours after the end of the climax of the Raid and we find that Rama’s (Iko Uwais) work is far from done. His boss wants him to go beyond the call of duty and convinces him in order to make everyone safe he needs to go to jail and become best buddies with the Uco (Arifin Putra) son of crime lord Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) in order to integrate himself into the wrong side of the law in order to take it down. The moment he gets to prison fisticuffs ensue. But the plan for the large part works and later he finds himself leaving prison after a long stint and offered a place in the crime empire.

And it is here where the plot thickens. For there are various families and factions and underlings who work for various people and keeping up with all of this is almost as exhausting as the extended bouts of slap happy action. But it’s all very much worth it, and it is all well played by the actors on screen. Evans makes sure on a regular basis to spend time with the characters we are introduced to. The lengthy running time is in part because he takes time out to spend quality time with new characters coming into the story, even if they have a small part to play later on.

Arifin Putra, as the son of the crime lord, is an interesting creation (Kind of your atypical son living in the shadow of his father who doesn’t get the respect he thinks he deserves and therefore takes it out on innocents leading to his behaviour becoming all the more unstable).  It’s a character we have seen before in many crime dramas, but Putra plays the character well. Of all the younger characters in the story he is probably the one who does the least fighting.

Which leads us to Iko Uwais’ Rama who does the bulk of the fighting. But when he isn’t fighting he is mourning the time he is not having spent with his family (a phone call home is particularly touching). Otherwise he is sitting around trying to patch himself up.

Evans and co have given themselves quite the challenge of upping the ante from the previous film – and whilst fight styles and action set-pieces have a glance of familiarity to them – the scope is opened up to the outdoors from time to time. Be it a smackdown in the muddy prison yard between a good two dozen combatants to a car chase later on involving a fist fight inside a car as well as multiple vehicles attempting to run each other off the road. The visual style, reliance on practical effects and heart stopping performances by the actors on screen is nothing short of breathtaking.

The Raid gets out into the world of crime bosses, with no shortage of underlings and shows us that The Raid was no fluke for the Welsh director. You may think that it’s coming to a close, or in danger of saying “NEXT WEEK ON THE RAID” at any moment, but it fulfils its story elements – despite the rumbling of this being a  trilogy. And on that last note, The Raid 3 is welcome on our shores and doors anytime it pleases.

5 Stars

 

 

 

Steven Hurst


editor