Directed by Gareth Evans
Prison fight scene. Bar fight scene. Alley fight scene. Street fight scene. Car crash fight scene. Kitchen fight scene.
That’s The Raid sequel for you. Seeing as it clocks in at 2-1/2 hours, it helps if you like fight scenes.
Though I did not see the first one, it’s my understanding this sequel is more – muchmuchmuch more! – of the same but with some extra plotting thrown in between the punches. Here’s the skinny: An Indonesian SWAT member, Rama (Iko Uwais), goes undercover in a harsh correctional facility and infiltrates the ranks of the cold-hearted Jakarta crime syndicate. In order to protect his wife and young son, and expose the corruption in his own police force, Rama goes even deeper than he ever could have planned. And, he gets into a lot of fights.
The fights are brutal, prolonged, bone-crushing, blood-letting, and crazily off the charts – most of the time, a cast of dozens are involved in the melee of the moment. Backs are broken, skulls are crushed, eyes gouged, throats cut, and legs snapped.
I can’t fault the flick on its acting, directing, cinematography, music, and certainly not its fight choreography. But for me, the action scenes offer little in the way of escalation (and therefore suspense, leading up to the big showdown) – they are all at a 10 on the Richter magnitude scale, from the first to the last. As for the conflicted, taciturn character, I’ve seen him before in so many hard-boiled undercover crime movies (particularly the Asian ones… in fact, Welsh director Gareth Evans stays quite true to Far- and Southeast Asian cinematic sensibilities).
While I can’t say I personally enjoyed The Raid: Berandal, I do appreciate it and I know it’ll please a lot of fans.
3 1/2 out of 5