The Raid 2(2014)
Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra
Directed by: Gareth Evans
Tagline: It’s not over yet.
Running time: 150 Minutes
Quick summary (from IMDB): Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of
to bring down the syndicate and uncover the
corruption within his police force Jakarta
Is there an Academy Award for Foley artists? If so, it should go to whoever was responsible for the sound effects for The Raid 2. Sound effects are usually not something I notice when watching a movie, unless the sound is off or a sound I was expecting is made. In The Raid 2, I noticed every single bone crack, every spatter of blood, every time a bat or a hammer or foot or fist connected with human tissue, it was unsettling and impossible to ignore. There were more than a few stand-out, highly memorable and graphic scenes from this movie, but the sound effects stood out the most.
The Raid 2 takes place just a few hours after the events of The Raid: Redemption, but you immediately can tell the difference between the two movies. The Raid 2 is much more open and less claustrophobic than the first time around. And I kind of missed that claustrophobia. There were a few scenes with close quarters fighting (a subway train, a hallway, the backseat of a car, a kitchen), but overall, The Raid 2 was sprawling by comparison. Massive fights in a prison yard, a vacant night club and an empty warehouse were in stark contrast to the crowded high-rise hallways and apartments from the first. As a result of this openness, the fight scenes felt a little different, more fluid and controlled, less sporadic and improvisational. They were still amazing, and kind of beautiful if you could ignore all of the violence and blood, but it felt like a completely different kind of fighting than the first movie.
The Raid 2 was also 49 minutes longer than Redemption. At first glance, this sounds awesome: 49 more minutes of crazy-awesome fight scenes. But in reality, that extra time is almost fully devoted to dialogue. It seems like every action sequence is book-ended by extended dialogue scenes full of plot, story and character development. In action movies like this, I don’t really care or have time for trivial things like plot and character development. I just want action. Nonstop, crazy action.
One of the things I found most interesting about Redemption was that Rama, the main character and hero, wasn’t my favorite character. I was rooting for him and he is a likeable and awesome character, but my favorite character from the first go round was Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian).
I knew he was going to show up again in the sequel, maybe not as the same character, but still being crazy and badass. When he finally showed up, I was excited. But he wasn’t my favorite character this time around. This time, it was a three-way tie between Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Man and The Assassin. These three henchmen are dispatched in order to take Rama out, but not before each gets their own introductory fight scene, and they are among the best action sequences in the movie. And they happen simultaneously, jumping from scene to scene as each of the henchmen does what they do best.
This is the intro to Hammer Girl:
Just a woman with sunglasses on, holding two hammers in a subway car. And she destroys every single person in that subway car using just those two hammers. And it is crazy.
This is the intro to Baseball Bat
Much like Hammer Girl, just a dude with a baseball bat and baseball. Calling his shot. And that shot was directly to the side of some dude’s skull. That is just sick.
The assassin was intro’d a little earlier in the movie in a face-off with Mad Dog 2.0, but now we get to see him in action, tracking down and catching a dude in the woods with his karambitknives.
I don’t think a single one of these characters utters a single word during the entire movie. They are each amazing and I would watch entire movies devoted exclusively to each one. Unfortunately, they were only a part of this movie and ultimately they each had to face off with Rama, and no one stands in Rama’s way for long. The Redemption-esque hallway fight scene with Rama against Hammer Girl and BaseballBat Man was probably the best in the entire movie, but there were so many great fights that it’s not really fair to rank them.
The Raid 2 was a fantastic action movie. Someone on an IMDB review called it the perfect action movie. I’m not going to go that far, especially since I consider The Raid: Redemption to be the best pure action movie I’ve ever seen. The Raid 2 was a little bit too long and drawn out, and was missing the frantic pace and frenzied adrenaline rush from the first movie. If Gareth Evans had been able to fully recapture that feeling the second time around without just making a carbon copy of Redemption, it would be the best action movie of all time, hands down.
4 out of 5 stars