#23 Raid 2: Berhandal
Written and directed by Gareth Evans, starring: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusodewo, Alex Abbad.
148 minutes long.
A sequel, as the title suggests, to the 2012 The Raid – a fantastically simple action film that proved to be one of the most original and exhilarating films I've ever seen! The action sequences were simply superb. In that film a SWAT team storms a high-rise block of flats and have to fight their way to the top then out again, with the head of a crime syndicate as their prisoner. The action just kept on relentlessly, building from one extraordinary cinematic fight to the next, building to the equivalent of a final level boss fight which was so incredible that the entire audience emitted a joint sigh of relief and physically relaxed at its end.
The sequel is a bigger, grander and more complex movie altogether, but there's still plenty of action scenes, which are equally as impressive as the original but now, they're spread across the two and a half hour running time and I have to say that for a lot of the running time, I had no real idea what was going on, the plot is too talky and complex and the audience is expected to fill in a lot of blanks themselves, I found the best thing to do was just go with it.
That's not to say this is a bad film, it's just not the non-stop action flick that early reports were claiming. The plot sees the sole policeman survivor from the first film, Rama played by Iko Uwais recruited into a super-secret police to infiltrate a established crime family and bring it down from inside. What follows is cross and double cross as rival crime families clash and puppets behind the scenes pull at the strings for their own nefarious purposes.
What makes this an extraordinary film are naturally enough the fight scenes that just seem to keep getting more brutal and more elaborate as the film unravels, building to a simply staggering fight to the death that easily matches the fight between Rama, his brother and Mad Dog from the first film.
This isn't as good as the original, it's too long and there's too much chat, but the action is breath-taking and the violence is genuinely shocking and very graphic. This is a truly savage and brutal film, the fights look like they hurt and you openly wince at some of the appalling onscreen injuries, especially those blows aimed at knees. There are fights to the death with hammers, baseball bats, hatchets, knives, fists, feet, bottles, brooms, in fact anything that anyone can get their hands on! This isn't a hollywood action film, Gareth doesn't shy away from showing the effects of a pump action shotgun to the face, or a truly brutal hammer fight that leaves Old Boy in the dust for savagery!
Tell you what, this is a tiring film to watch!