I saw The Raid: Redemption in 2011 on DVD, based on the fact that many of my friends said they loved it, and it was 90 mins of non stop action. I liked the film (B) but I thought it was lacking heavy in the story department and that ended up hurting the film over all.
So I was really not looking forward to The Raid 2 and waited to watch it on DVD again. To my surprise The Raid 2 was even more action packed then the original, but it also contains a story that I was interested in and helped the 2 and half hour time fly by.
The Raid 2 is superior to the original on every front! This is one of the great surprises of the 2014 film year so far!
The story takes place immediately following the events of the first film. We see Rama (the hero of the first film) as he is meeting with a head guy from an undercover police squad that is requiring his service. Rama must spent the next 2 years in jail to help establish himself and earn the trust of Ucok (Arifin Putra), who’s father Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo) is a head crime boss in Indonesia. After saving Ucok’s life in jail, he is asked to come work as a henchmen for Bangun, when he gets out of jail. The plot goes into The Departed territory when we learn that Ucok is getting annoyed working for his father, who refuses to see him as a crime boss and let him take over. So he starts to work with Bejo (Alex Abbad) a leader of a rival gang, after Benjo makes him a deal he can’t say no to. This leaves Rama stuck between father and son, as well as right in the middle of a huge war between rival gangs.
The plot has a lot more twist and turns to it but that is not really the point of this movie. Of course it is all about the action scenes and BOY are there plenty of those! I lost count at how many time I out loud said HOLY S@#$ during this film. There are so many jaw dropping action scenes here, that I could barely keep up! The car chase scene is one of the single greatest car chase scenes I have ever seen, as Rama is fighting four gang members from the backseat of the car, all while a crazy chase is going on outside with other gang members! It is breathtaking!
Another element that is turned up to the maxim this time is the violence! I can’t remember a movie in history, that has made it to theatres, that contains this much violence! Scenes were Rama must fight a baseball bat wielding goon, at the same time he is fighting a double hammer swinging lady goon, or were Rama must fight an opponent of equal skill as him, in a lavish kitchen, showcase the violence in epic fashion. Baseball bats smashing in faces, hammers gutting people, people getting hit by cars … its all here and in abundance.
The first half of the movie is basically setting up the story, with a few action scenes tossed in to keep things moving. The last sixty minutes is a non stop action scene that blows away anything I have seen in theaters this summer.
You want a big action extravaganza? Forget Michael Bay; this is the movie for you!
What is absolutely stunning about this film is that there is absolute zero CGI in this film, these are real actors doing all their own stuns. There are times when the camera is sped up to make for maximum effect and it works here beautifully. The editing in this film is astonishing to say the least, when you consider all the work that must have gone into filming those action scenes, the editing is flawless here!
Oscar take notice!
Something else that really stands out here is the cinematography, as the camera often times just focuses on little details, that make the scenes that much more effective. Take for instance the scene right at the beginning of the film inside a jail. Watch as the tension just builds and builds at the camera stays focused on one key point. It is amazing work.
If you were like me and thought that the first Raid just lacked something without the story to go with it, then this film is definitely for you. However if you loved the first Raid, then this film is also for you! The Raid two finds the perfect balance between story and action. By adding an extra hour or so the running time, the film becomes an all out action classic.
The Raid 2 blew me away, I had no expectations for this film, whatsoever and with in the first twenty minutes I was already taken a back by how well paced the film was and how much I was invested in the story. The long sixty minute action scene in the end is earned this time around. It is as if the director was just proving a point the first time around, and this was his coming out party!
The Raid 2 is the best action movie of 2014 … if not ever, and is absolutely one of the VERY best movies of 2014! RENT IT!