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.
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.