The Raid 2 (2014)
Rama is compelled to go undercover and decides to unravel the corruption in the police force once and for all.
When Raid hit film screens, it left audiences gasping and amazed. It took a brutal, no holds barred approach to showcasing unapologetic action and people were surprised it was a Western Director - Gareth Evans- who had achieved what turned out to be the finest martial arts movie of that year and on many fans Top Ten list. Just when everyone thought it could never be bettered, Evans went and made Raid 2. It made Raid 1 look like a launch pad.
Evans wrote and directed the film building on Raid 1 and in many ways perfecting the showcase of the Indonesian fighting style Pencak Silat. The film excels not just because of its high octane action, inventive choreography but also because of the way the sequences are filmed with every punch, kick, dodge portrayed and recorded with brutal precision.
Just when everyone thought it could never be bettered, Evans went and made Raid 2. It made Raid 1 look like a launch pad.
The film continues the story of Rama, the cop with the conscience and the chops, played by an intense Iko Uwais. He has to go undercover into a prison to get close to Uco played exceptionally well by Arifin Tutra, the son of Bangun the boss of the syndicate. Through Uco, Rama has to get close to Bangun and bring down on the syndicate and the corrupt cops who collude with it. Where Raid 2 actually does a better job than Raid 1 is the story and the fleshing out of the characters. While Raid 1 did a climb-the-stairs-and fight storyline, Raid 2 has characters we connect with and care about, even the bad ones.
There’s Bangun himself, played with gravitas by Tio Pakusadewo, there’s Bejo ( Alex Abbad) the ambitious gangster who wants to be top-dog himself, there’s Eka ( Oka Antara) , Bangun’s trusted lieutenant, there’s Raid 1 action king Prakaso played with amazing skill by Yayan Ruhian and there’s the set of assassins who bring both style and the X factor to the movie.
Baseball Bat Man played by Very Tri Yulisman, Alicia “Hammer girl” played by Julie Estelle ( who it will be difficult to believe had no martial arts training prior to this movie) and the Assassin played by Cecip Arif Rahman who features with Rama in one of the all time greatest martial arts fights ever filmed. Throw those kind of characters and cast together in a martial arts movie and you get both a gripping storyline and out of the world action.
Starting from the prison bathroom fight, the film gives you a taster of what is to come. The next prison fight lifts the level a notch with a mid fight that cements Rama’s credentials with Uco. From there on, it’s a martial arts movie fan’s dream - each fight choreographed with amazing precision and creativity. The assassins feature in their own showpiece fights with Hammer girl’s train sequence combining gore and skill.
Prakoso’s dancing feet come into play in the bar fight and finally the movie builds in a crescendo to the pyramid fight - the kitchen fight between Rama and The Assassin. It apparently took Evans 6 months to design that fight and 8 days to shoot it and it’s worth every minute. The other classic sequence is the car fight- shot brilliantly in a you’re-in-there-with-them fashion, camera placement, editing and choreography combine to create one of the best action sequences ever shot.
It’s for good reason that Matt Goldberg - the famously difficult-to-please critic say in his Collider review : ‘one of the greatest action movies ever made’. We couldn’t agree more strongly.