Over the past few years, there’s been those landmark action films that have really took the genre in new directions. Skyfall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, John Wick, and of course Mad Max: Fury Road, along with many others. We’ve gotten a ton of fantastic action films over the course of the 2010s. Among that list is the fantastic The Raid: Redemption, which was a fantastic and simple action flick that built up with each scene like the high-rise our hero is climbing. The Raid 2, however is a true action masterpiece and builds upon its predecessor in every way possible, creating a film with as intriguing of a story as the action, which is the best I’ve seen ever.
The Raid 2 picks up a mere hours after the conclusion of The Raid as Rama, the SWAT officer from the last film, goes undercover to help bring down Reza, a corrupt police commissioner and is going after Bejo, an up and coming gangster who poised a threat to his family. He becomes friendly with Uco, son of Bangun who is one of the organizations who has ties to Reza and once he’s out of prison where he was put to hopefully be invited into Bangun’s organization, he becomes a part of something bigger than he originally thought.
That paragraph alone already says a lot at just how much Gareth Evans, the wonderful writer/director, has improved the story, my only issue with the first one and turned it into a Godfather/The Departed esque film but if those films took steroids. I found myself actually caring a lot about these characters and wanting to see how it all unfolds. Rama (Iko Uwais, reprising his role) was more fleshed out and had this anger brewing inside him due to the event that led him to go undercover, don’t want to spoil anything here. Arifin Putra as Uco was absolutely fantastic and had this presence to him that made him electric everytime he was one screen. There’s a lot more of a cast in this one so to go through and list everyone would take up a lot of this review, but just know that they all give their A game.
Okay, so now the action. There isn’t a word to describe how brutal and gratifying each action sequence is in this film. It is breathtaking. You know those lists of like top 10 fight scenes or top 10 action scenes, this movie has probably 3 or 4 spots of both of those lists taken up. It has probably my favorite prison fight scene in it, which mind you there as 2 equally stunning prison scenes in this. It has one of the best car chases ever, the best car chase is of course all 120 minutes of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s like Gareth Evans set out to top all the action lists out there and you know what, he did!
This movie is also one of the most violent and brutal movies I’ve ever seen. It’s bloody, ferocious, hard-hitting and looks gorgeous every moment of it. I probably laughed and said oh my god at least 50 times during this movie because they one up themselves multiple times in terms of a broken bone or a kill. There’s a moment when a bone snaps so much that it twists around and I had to rewind and rewatch it multiple times to just take in how relentingly brutal it is. The cast and stunt team learned how to make contact with each punch or kick thrown so it looked authentic without hurting each other so more often then not, it looks like people are actually fighting and not acting. It’s truly amazing.
I have no grips with this film, The Raid 2 like I said earlier, is an absolute masterpiece. The film runs at 150 minutes but there is not a scene that feels like it shouldn’t be there. This film should be seen by all fans of action and film alike. It is a landmark of the genre and the films closing scene and final line is perfect. While a 3rd and final film would be welcome, I’m glad they may have scrapped it and decided to end it here because the film ends fittingly and feels like the story has been wrapped up. Now I’m gonna go rewatch it.
Kyle’s Next Film:
Sin City (2004)
One of my favorite comic book movies and one of the best ever made, Sin City is one of the more unique adaptations as it feels like the comic was lifted off the page and put on screen. The story is insanely investing, it’s well acted and boy is it stylishly violent, Kyle you’re going to love this one.