“Its not that I dont trust you, its just that I dont trust anybody”Review by Lewis Goodall
After finishing the first raid film (which im sure you can see from there but I reviewed it here check it out before you read this one and watch the film cause it’s great! Anyway back to basics), I had to watch the second one because of how much I loved it. Thinking HOLY PINEAPPLES YES A SECOND RAID FILM! so naturally the first thing I did was go out a buy it cause it wasnt on netflix and watched it. Now here we are, at my review, let’s see what I thought shall we?
So ‘The Raid 2’, obviously the sequel to ‘The Raid’ and still directed by Gareth Evans. The sequel takes a more story based approach eoth our main protagonist, Rama (Iko Uwais). I realised I never mentioned it but he was the main character in the first one too. So the events of the sequel take place straight after the first where him and two others survived the onslaught from the tower they raided. Proving that he was someone to not be messed with, he goes undercover with the head honcho of the crime syndicate that he attacked in the first raid. His plan is to infiltrate, learn their secrets and take them down from the inside.
Taking a huge leap from the first film, the direction for this film was definitely to double up on all aspects, mainly the amount of story and the impact of the action. Gareth has once again nailed the violence and fighting that was already perfected in the first film so how he managed to top it I dont know. Although the ratio of fighting and story is more geared toward story this time, the action seemed to be hugely compacted where throughout the film theres less of it but when it happens, my god does it go off. The first film the action is very much like a machine gun, constantly going. Whereas in the sequel, it seems to be more like a mortar where it takes longer to reload but ultimately leaves a much bigger wound. Again there were moments that had me wincing, moments that brought out the same reaction as a young boy seeing a Hot Wheels advert for the first time. It still played to a beat that kept the rhythm of the fighting at a nice pace so that things were just enough, not too over the top but enough to be amazed.
Rama starts out with receiving the invitation of going undercover in return the police will protect his wife and son which seems like a pretty fair trade to me. In order to get closer to the kingpin of the operation, Rama goes to prison where the kingpins son currently is. From there they form a bond as they fight other prisoners who want both of them dead because that’s prison, everyone wants everyone dead. Feeling trusted, Rama is accepted within this gang where he must tag along with crimes in order to build more of a rapport and get closer to get the gossip. Watching the film, it didnt really feel like the sequel to the first, although the same characters were there, the style of the story was so completely different that it did feel a bit disjointed from the first. I dont even think there is a single raid during the sequel, unless you can consider Rama is silently raiding the family. I guess that works, we’ll go with that. I’m not necessarily saying that the story was bad, it just felt a little disconnected from the first considering the first had next to no story and this seemed to pack loads in there. I still very much enjoyed the story and the incorporation of old characters from the first.
Theres one character in particular that I have to mention because he was badass as hell and that was Prakoso (Yayan Ruhian). Now he’s a bad guy, was a bad guy in the first film but this mans fighting is just insane, I have to give him his own shout out. Hes that good that they got him in John Wick 3 to go up against, you guessed it, John Wick. This dude has the energy of a baby chimp with ADHD and 12 adrenaline shots in the arm. Hes a pleasure to watch fighting and looks so damn intimidating that everytime he came up on the screen my heart started pounding because I knew someones jaw was about to be spun. Along side him you have a plethora of other skilled fighters who have their own specialist weapons, looking like bad guys out of an anime. A man armed with a baseball bat, one with curved knives, my favourite however has to be the woman who wielded two hammers and my god I fell in love, I wouldnt mind having my spine sliced open with a hammer as long as she was wielding it.
Not only were the characters and action great, I also have to mention that on a technical level I was impressed as well. Not as overwhelmingly creative as other films in the genre but there were some shots that really stood out which I feel would seriously go unnoticed but are highly appreciated by moi. One in particular was when there was a car chase scene. The camera was filming the car, it then swooped around to the passenger window to film the driver. It then went behind him and out the other window, all in one take meaning that somehow its line the camera skewered it’s way through the car. I have no idea if I’ve described that to do it credit but it was subtle direction like that that kept it fresh as the film progressed.
Overall, we have yet another sequel that delivers just as much punch as the first. Focusing more on story this time, I actually appreciated the fact that it was a competent story as well because it so easily couldve gone down the marvel route and been a boring, cookie cutter style film but the whole experience was exciting. Minor hitches in terms of some parts of the story not really being tied off or some choices that seemed a bit pointless, but other than that, this is another action film that punches you right in the throat, grabs your nuts/labia and treats you right.