Martial arts mayhem in The Raid 2 | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Martial arts mayhem in The Raid 2 

A ballet of brutality in The Raid 2

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

A ballet of brutality in The Raid 2

Among the endless array of assassins littering THE RAID 2, two are credited only as "Baseball Bat Man" and "Hammer Girl," which should give you an idea of the audacious violence in this Indonesian action opus.

Running nearly 50 minutes longer than 2011's The Raid: Redemption, with an equally inflated production budget, this sequel is distinctly more plot-driven than its critically acclaimed predecessor. The labyrinthine narrative picks up mere hours after the end of the first film, with a battered and bloody Rama (Iko Uwais) being persuaded by his Jakarta police minder to go undercover and infiltrate the influential Bangun crime family, exposing associated police corruption in the process.

First, Rama must ingratiate himself with Bangun's only son, Uco (Arifin Putra), an enforcer for his father's syndicate. This eventually puts Rama close to Bejo (Alex Abbad), a young, ambitious gangster responsible for killing Rama's brother, Andi (Donny Alamsyah).

While this expanded police story lends resonance to the characters' dire fates, it also serves as an elaborate backdrop for writer-director Gareth Evans' exquisite, escalating ballet of martial arts brutality. There's limitless fodder to provide the body counts for a muddy, bloody riot in a prison courtyard and a car chase where fisticuffs and gunfire roll into one thrilling sequence. A battle royale that starts inside a darkened nightclub culminates outside with a snow-covered death to the tune of a Handel sarabande. A firefight even breaks out at a back-alley porn studio.

Although having seen the first movie is essential to understanding the opening acts of the second, the sequel soon settles in as an exhilarating standalone. But there's a sublime symmetry in the fact that while Rama had to fight his way down a hellish high-rise in the first movie, he has to fight his way up another in the second, with each floor serving as an infernal circle on the path to vengeance.

The pacing and sequencing required to accommodate the film's strong suit—garish violence—unavoidably undercuts its dramatic aspirations. But The Raid 2 isn't after Oscars (although it might deserve a few). Ballistics, blades and balls-out action ultimately fuel this martial arts epic. Oh, and an aluminum bat and a couple of claw hammers.

This article appeared in print with the headline "The blood sports"

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Good movie. That showed a career service member can be sold out by BS politicians

by Darin Thigpen Sr on Only military guys can understand (Film Review)

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation