Gareth Evans‘ The Raid 2 is every bit as good as the original film, only kicked up fifteen more notches and taken to epic new heights. This is The Godfather II of action sequels, meaning that Evans and his entire team have managed to strike lightening twice, delivering us a lengthy epic, loaded with over-the-top gory goodness and jam-packed with crazy good action that will satisfy genre fans for years to come. The Raid 2 is one hell of a time.
The film picks up rather quickly after the events of The Raid: Redemption. Rama (Iko Uwais) and a couple of cops have managed to escape the disastrous drug lord building from hell, after killing dozens upon dozens of thugs. But now the higher ups want them dead, including crooked cops and even more powerful kingpins/drug lords. Rama must now go deep undercover in order to take out the trash from the inside out.
He heads to prison to get close to the son of a powerful boss to hopefully infiltrate their entire operation and weed out the bad cops in the process. His journey isn’t a simple one nor a clean one and the result is one bloody mess, with an endless stack of bodies to show for it. Can Rama survive this many enemies to protect the safety of his family or will he finally be stopped once and for all?
The Raid 2 is director Gareth Evans taking every single thing that worked brilliantly in The Raid: Redemption and increasing its intensity fifteen more times. Yes, this one is a tad slower than the original, but once it gets going it never stops and quickly becomes an action-packed, blood-soaked masterpiece from head to toe. The Raid 2 is a shining achievement in the world of martial arts and action films and will be studied for years to come.
Evans has boldly made a film that’s choreographed with incredible skill and craftsmanship and something that most are going to have to watch two to three times just to soak up the genius of it.
This is a bloody film that pushes its rating well past the point of comfort, oftentimes showing off excessive gore and violence in a gleefully over-the-top manner that will have you clapping one second and sitting in complete awe the next. What Evans and star/choreographer Iko Uwais have done is expand on the first film and create an entire world of crime and corruption for Rama to sort through and put back in line by way of fists and feet.
There’s definitely more hand-to-hand action this time around, with Rama taking on several memorable villains, including Hammer Girl, Crazy Knives Man and Baseball Bat Boy. I’m not entirely sure if that’s their correctly billed names, but you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about once you witness this revelation of a film. The fights that Rama gets himself into only impress more and more as he advances through the criminal underground and watching Uwais and Evans work together to construct something that’s extremely watchable and endlessly creative is a rare treat that will only get better with age and re-watches.
Director Gareth Evans has definitely learned a thing or two from his time making the first film, because The Raid 2 feels like a much cleaner film, with softer transitions, creative edits and camerawork that flows even smoother than the previous film. Here, Evans uses his skills as an action filmmaker to hit hard and continuously ramp up the tempo of the film.
The only real weakness in this film is its mildly slow first act, which is mostly used to build up and help add importance to its blow-out last two acts, which are adrenaline-fueled and laced with craziness from top to bottom. Seriously, this film doesn’t even stop for a quick breath, constantly blowing your mind with its fighting sequences that always feel new and exciting, despite featuring the same characters over and over.
Martial arts movies are tricky, because you can only beat a man down so many times before it starts to feel repetitive, yet Evans and his team almost always manage to knock you back a few feet with their inventiveness and ability to escalate the action again and again until there’s nothing more left. This film will drain you after its extensive running time, but in a way that makes it feel like a good thing. You’ll watch The Raid 2 on an empty stomach and walk out full and that’s quite possibly the greatest compliment anyone can ever give an action movie of this caliber.
The Raid 2 is one hell of a time. It’s easily the most fun I’ve had at the cinemas this year and my current favorite film of 2014 if we’re being completely honest. Sure, it feels a little slower than the first film, but that’s only because Evans is establishing the importance of his characters and the depth of the film, which only makes the action that much more impressive and meaningful. Yeah, this is one of those rare sequels that takes everything from the first film and adds to it and expands upon it in a way that feels exciting and fresh, just like the first time you sat down with The Raid: Redemption.
Simply put, The Raid 2 is amazing.
The Raid 2 – 9.5/10