REVIEW: “The Raid 2”

Raid poster

I’m not sure if anyone expected “The Raid: Redemption” to be such a worldwide success, but that’s exactly what happened with the 2011 Indonesian martial arts picture from writer and director Gareth Edwards. Now we get “The Raid 2”, a sequel armed with a bigger budget and much more ambition. This first film was built around minimal story but a very interesting premise. This film greatly expands the story while featuring the same entertaining, high-octane, and sometimes brutal action that energized its predecessor.

“The Raid 2” moves beyond the closed confines of a tenement and quickly develops itself as something bigger. SWAT Team member Rama (Iko Uwais) returns, and this time he finds himself in a web of two rival mob gangs and corrupt police officers. After his brother is killed by one of the gangs, Rama is persuaded to join a secret task force set on infiltrating the gangs and exposing the crooked cops. He befriends the ambitious but overzealous son of one the mob bosses which gives him an inside track. But as you may guess, things aren’t nearly as easy as Rama would like.

“The Raid 2” pulls from numerous classic crime films and mob movies. You can’t help but notice it throughout the entire story. If you’re familiar with some of these plot points you’ll know exactly how things are going to play out. While that did take away any sense of curiosity or surprise for me, Edwards still handles it very well and it’s the injections of action (a very unique style of action) that very much separates this film from the gangster movies it otherwise emulates. There are plenty of wickedly choreographed martial arts sequences, but there are also some insanely good shootouts and one particular car chase sequence that blew my mind.

RAID 2

That’s really what “The Raid 2” is all about. It’s a full blown action picture and that is where it makes its money. And let me just say that some of it isn’t for the faint of heart. Blood splashes, arteries are severed, limbs are broken. After all this is the movie that gives us characters simply known as Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man. Now obviously she didn’t get her name because of her carpentry skills and he didn’t get his because of his high batting average. Both characters are outrageous but they are also good examples of how much fun the movie is.

“The Raid 2” is a film that will definitely be appreciated by fans of the first movie. It remembers what made its predecessor successful and it builds upon it. Surprisingly there is a lot more story this time around which isn’t necessarily original but it is entertaining. The acting is adequate, but no one is looking at this film for Oscar-winning performances. Most people will be coming to it for action and they will get plenty of it. And it’s no joke either. It’s exhilarating, violent, and jaw-dropping and it will unquestionably satisfy the thirst of any true action movie fan.

VERDICT – 3.5 STARS

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27 thoughts on “REVIEW: “The Raid 2”

  1. It’s a bit different than the first, no? The action is somewhat altered in terms of flavor, with Evans having wider sets, more varied arenas, and a bigger budget to work with, not to mention expanding into an entire new realm of action choreography with that car chase 😀

    Still, as a fan of the original I can understand why some were a bit taken back by all those “talking parts” — most of us just wanted a Raid 1.5 with more nonstop fisticuffs, but thankfully Evans didn’t bite and made a sequel the way that sequels should be made: retaining the core ideas and DNA of the original, but expanding upon the material and doing something new. I hate hate HATE sequels that simply rehash the original and only slightly tweak things here and there. It’s just like, “Why did I even pay to see the sequel when I coulda just re-watched the original at home? Y’knaw I mean?”

    I really liked the story and characters, though as you pointed out it wasn’t much that hadn’t been done before. The father-son dynamic between Uco and Bangun was nice, and that was kinda a running theme throughout the whole movie (e.g. Rama and his kid).

    Glad you finally saw and enjoyed the sequel, although I can tell from your star ratings of both films these movies ain’t exactly your cup of tea 😀 My experience with showing these movies to people is that they either stay…or they walk out in the first 15 minutes 😛

    To each their own, I guess! (Sips alcoholic beverage)

    • It definitely expands in terms of the sheer scope of the action. The more varied environments certainly give the film more opportunities to do new and incredibly wild things. That’s probably what I liked most.

    • Thanks man. It’s a heck of an action film. Crazy mind blowing stuff at times. They push things to the point of what should be preposterous but is instead incredibly entertaining.

    • You bring up a good point. It’s not as fresh as the first one. We kind of know what kind of action we are going to get. Still they did a good job of expanding it and making it even more over-the-top (In a good way).

  2. Well, I was a fan of the first one, but didn’t like it. Like you say its story was predictable (which I don’t mind), but it wasn’t engaging and the whole story about him going undercover wasn’t used much. You didn’t get the feeling he was investigating something, which I was expecting. Action was cool though.

    • I think you bring up a very valid point. They expanded the story but didn’t really explore it enough. They did stay within familiar bounds which didn’t offer much new. But the action is the bread-and-butter and it was pretty impressive.

  3. I love, love, love this movie! Definitely in my top 5 favorites of this year. Then again, I’m an action junkie, so the story could suck and I’d probably still love it regardless because the fight scenes are amazing.

  4. Hey Keith! I should be more interested in this as it’s filmed in my hometown and has an Indonesian actor in the lead, but I’m really too chicken to see the gruesome violence. Ppl might think Jakarta folks are so barbaric now, ahah.

    • I don’t think this one would appeal to you at all Ruth. Knowing your feeling about graphic violence, I would warn you away. Some of the scenes are brutal and they don’t shy away from blood, snapped limbs, impalings, etc. I think you would hit the “Stop” button before the halfway point! 😀

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