Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Raid 2... Holy Shit!!!

I LOVED the action of The Raid: Redemption. So imagine my excitement when it became clear a sequel was on its way. But I couldn't have anticipated what Gareth Evans (who wrote, directed, and edited both of these films) and his team were going to bring to the big screen this year.
The Raid 2 (I do wish the Berandal heading was still attached to the title) was so much more epic than its predecessor. I simply cannot believe the level of quality it's action held in literally every hit. You could tell every punch really really hurt and even better, you could understand where every character was coming from and how their position related to each scene. I also appreciate a film that is willing to let big moments happen in real time rather than forcing the frames to slow down so we can see "how cool" it's supposed to be. The Raid 2 never had to rely on such tricks because every moment was so damn cool... every hit exploded with awe.
The movie opens very shortly after the events of the first. The brothers have separated and each found their own next steps... of course I'm not gonna tell you what I mean by that. But as the plot unfolds, the action just makes sense. Every fight has a purpose and suddenly it is clear just what these guys are capable of even without the confines of that single building from the first one. Initially I thought of that building as a really cool crutch for them to use as an exercise in making the action seem better... but it turns out Evans and his team didn't need any crutches what-so-ever. The Raid 2 extrapolates on the original and then moves on to bigger and better things.
Iko Uwais brings his 'A' game. At no point does it feel like he isn't badass enough or motivated enough to be Rama... perhaps the craziest, coolest badass in film history. He did this in the first movie, but here we see him stripped down (once again no crutches required). Similarly, Yayan Ruhian builds further on his Mad Dog character, Prakoso and really solidifies himself as one of the best fight choreographers I've ever seen. He's only done these two flicks, but just consider how different every fight he put together really has been and I can't imagine any action director who wouldn't want to hire this guy in a second. Julie Estelle and Very Tri Yulisman also brought their own flare to the film allowing for two of the more fun sequences involving hammers and a baseball bat. And Alex Abbad, while not playing nearly as badass a character, brought another very twisted/fun element to the overall film.
Damn this movie was so entertaining. The prison fights, the car chase, the train fight, the kitchen scene... pretty much any action scene you may ever want to see exists in The Raid 2. And if you've ever even considered just sitting down one night and watching a good action film, you owe it to yourself to check out Gareth Evans' latest effort.

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