The Raid 2 (2014)

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I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage regarding the breathing of new life into an existing concept. For those of you who this maxim escapes, it essentially states that someone or something has successfully revitalized, imbued, or revolutionized what had universally become the standard. I decided to clarify this aphorism immediately seeing as it is excruciatingly similar to what Gareth Evans has done to action cinema with his past success “The Raid” and his latest, unfathomable triumph, “The Raid 2.” Yes, Evans’ incomparable genius removed any footing the rapidly deteriorating genre stood upon. And as if that wasn’t enough, once he quite handily did away with the infuriatingly brainless and bombastic abomination the once beloved action genre became, Evans, with “The Raid 2″ persisted to choke, beat, and mutilate his way to superseding his own previous best in a cyclic manner, as if to taunt any challenging newcomers, to make it painfully clear that the best is yet to come…

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PLOT:

Approximately two hours after the first film ends, Rama goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and to uncover the corruption in his own police force.

As impressively choreographed and executed Evans sophomore effort may be, his follow up “The Raid 2″ is a masterful expedition into extreme hand-to-hand combat and ultra-savagery. With brutal, occasionally disturbing violence and a limitless supply of unbelievably detailed gore, the slaughter throughout “The Raid 2″ is mercilessly relentless and joyfully excessive. And while there’s no doubt that Evans’ latest will leave viewers exhilarated and gleefully gasping for air by the time it’s concluded, there are a few scenes that might force even the toughest SOB to cringe and gag. Yes, a steel baseball bat lodged in between a man’s jaw or the continuous burning of a man’s face on a fully-heated grill is but a sample of the viciousness that awaits you in “The Raid 2.” Granted, beautifully sadistic scenes such as those mentioned don’t occur all too frequently, but it is something that you’ll need to prepare for.

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Clocking in at a daunting one hundred and fifty minutes, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if fanboys of “The Raid,” which finished around the one hundred and five minute mark, would be a little too frightened by its sequel’s massive runtime to undertake it. With this new allotment of time, Evans has expanded on the original story and list of characters, making for a much more fluent, intricate, captivating experience, one that isn’t simply just run-and-gun. It sets it’s primary focus on an intense, intelligent, ruthless crime-family drama, causing stimulation to not only occur physically, but mentally as well. That being said, “The Raid 2″ does tend to drag occasionally, but when compared to the film’s immense list of successes, any complaint about slight mistakes or the story’s encompassing complexity is easily forgotten.

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“The Raid 2″ strays from the simple, easy to follow narrative that, in my opinion, hampered its predecessor, if only slightly. While this monstrously entertaining sequel does rely heavily on its action sequences to drive it forward, it provides enough substance for viewers to sink their teeth into. Allowing characters to become more three-dimensional and each scene to build and progress on the former, ultimately resulting in every new segment trumping the previous. For example, the violence and gore continuously ascends, becoming more deplorable, complex, and immeasurable, eventually reaching the crescendo. A tactic that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor. Additionally, the musical accompaniment throughout the film is something supremely identifiable. So much so that you’ll be confused as to what exactly got your heart racing, the action or the music.

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Now, if there’s one thing that “The Raid” series isn’t known for, it has to be acting. Granted, Evans has expanded the emotional range needed to partake in his action series juggernaut and the change is quite noticeable. Our antihero portrayed by the immensely talented Iko Uwais has several scenes in which he must display an array of varying emotions, albeit a restricted spectrum. Yet, the addition of a more emotional diverse and demanding story creates its own paradox. The level of talent needed to convey effectively what Evans is hoping to achieve with this intricate mafioso thriller is much higher than his typical cast can provide. So really, in order to complete this change, one would need to concede some action for substance, a sacrifice I don’t think Evans or fans are willing to make. Nevertheless, the attempt is admirable to say the least. That being said, if you’re going to see “The Raid 2″ for its acting, it’s probably best you don’t see it at all.

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For a film with an unbelievable sense of chaos, “The Raid 2″ is surprisingly, yet certainly a controlled burn. Bursting with eye-popping action sequences, a respectable story, and stomach-churning visuals, Evans latest is a cinematic feast that all may not be able to enjoy, but at the very least revere. And since it is an action film, a genre in which I don’t usually get along with, I’m giving “The Raid 2″ bonus points for being, quite possibly the greatest action film I’ve ever seen.

The Raid 2: 9.5 out of 10.

 

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on April 15, 2014, in Action and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Fine look at this, Joseph. It’s length was daunting, as you mentioned. Gareth seemed to try to channel John Woo in this expanded story. That only partially worked for me. That said, Evans really outdid himself in his action scenes, brutal as they are. That finale is extraordinary.

  2. That poster, Joseph, is throttling you with promises. Your review suggests the film delivers. I’m always up for a good action. I will check it out. Thanks!

  3. High praise indeed Joseph, great to hear! I loved the first and can’t wait to see this one. Personally, the extra-long runtime is a tad daunting, but if the action is as thrilling here as in the first film that shouldn’t be a problem. Great review mate!

    Adam.

  4. Excellent write up, sir!

  5. Sounds amazing. I really am behind.

  6. Damn, dude. I can’t wait to catch this one. It looks intense as hell. Great review!

  7. Oh my god, I want to see this! Sounds amazing. Great write up, too.

  8. Okay I really need to sort myself out and see the first one, don’t I?

  9. “While this monstrously entertaining sequel does rely heavily on its action sequences to drive it forward, it provides enough substance for viewers to sink their teeth into. Allowing characters to become more three-dimensional…”

    I am so glad to read this. The action in the first film was stunning but there was no substance, so I’m glad this sequel has improved that. Really excited for the bonkers action sequences in this one!

  10. Looking forward to seeing this :D

  11. Well said! We are most definitely on the same page here Joseph. I thought the original was pretty special, but this blows it away.

  12. This is one of those films where I hope the DVD extras include details of the discussions with the MPAA / BBFC, as I’m sure there were a few interesting moments during viewings.

  13. Victor De Leon

    Yes Yes Yes!!! So excited for this film. I am a big fan of the first and I re-visit it every so often with my son.

    Great work like always on the review. No one writes them like you, Sir!

  14. If you like The Raid this much, you should watch “Merantau” – I think that it is a deeper version of the two “Raid” movies.

  15. Excellent review! I wanted to check out the movie first before reading your review. I think your line about a controlled burn and respectable story is spot on. And man, I cringed when half the face got burned off! Haha.

  16. Watching this tonight, just warmed up watching the first one again. Nice to see your score, bodes well :)

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