Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
When director Gareth Evans released his film 'The Raid' a few years back, it destroyed us.  It broke us down and piece by piece put us back together.  The best action we had seen in a good decade… and some would even argue the best action movie ever.  A film with the impact of 'The Raid' just doesn't go softly into the night, no sir, a sequel was immediately offered up and we have to admit we were concerned.  I mean, what can you do with a movie called 'The Raid 2'?  Have our hero go into another building and beat up another horde of heavily armed villains to death?  Sure, I probably would still enjoy that, but it would be the same movie.  Well, Mr. Evans did not go down that road again, but gave us something completely different.  Yes, our hero still beats people to death, but now what we have here is a real live gangster movie.  Think 'Donnie Brasco' meets 'Game of Death', that's what you are going to get with 'The Raid 2'.

After the unfortunate events that resulted in the apartment massacre of the police force in the previous movie, Rama (Iko Uwais) is briefing his boss on what went down and is prepared to testify against that cop that led them to that massacre.  His boss isn't interested in that.  Not even a little bit.  Bossman wants to root out corruption in his police force and feels that Rama and his unique set of skills would be perfect to go undercover to make this happen.  Rama isn't at all interested in this, just wanting to be a husband and father, but a personal tragedy changes his mind.

The plan is simple.  Go enter the local jail for a couple of months, befriend Uco (Arifin Putra), the son of the local big boss, join the organization for a little while, get some names, then come on home.  Two years later Rama finally gets out of jail.  I gotta admit, he handled this boondoggle of an operation much better than I would've thought, but having helped Uco out in prison, just as planned, he is now a lieutenant in the army of Boss Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo).
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The mob game however is one really dangerous game.  Uco is not happy with his old man and the jobs he gives him.  He wants to be a boss.  It looks like he's willing to just about anything to prove to his old man that he can be this boss.  Anything.  Usually, at this point, I'd inform you that a lot of stuff happens, and a lot of stuff does happen, but it's really linear in its focus.  That focus, in case you were wondering, is getting Rama in a position to kick people in the face, and then ultimately, God willing, kill these people.  The thing is, in regards to his goal, I'm not exactly sure why he's doing it, other than self-preservation.  It was awesome to watch though.

I am not sure what I expected going in to this movie 'The Raid 2', but I certainly was not expecting what I got.  This movie was nothing like original, outside of the completely brutal violence, and I guess that's a good thing.  Kind of.  You see, where 'The Raid' was a relatively brief movie and probably under-plotted, 'The Raid 2' runs at a near oppressive two and a half hours and is over-plotted.  Two and a half hours is a lot of awesome to endure.   Now because of all of the plotting elements, I didn't have a 100% rock solid grip on all of the gangs, and gangsters, and back room dealings, and the motivations of certain characters at certain times doing whatever it is they were doing.  Now in defense of director Gareth Evans and his screenwriters, a lot of my inability to completely grasp ahold of this plethora of plot stimuli could've been I simply wasn't mentally prepared to deal with this after seeing the first movie.

But all of that nonsense is really neither here nor there.  Yes, this movie is a bit long, and true enough there were times I was feeling some of this length, but I can guarantee you that I was never bored while watching 'The Raid 2', and while the plot might've been somewhat convoluted, it never got in the way of what was really important in this movie, that being the fight scenes, and they are spectacular.

The action in this iteration of what will eventually be a legendary series are bigger, meaner, uglier, bloodier, and longer.  Much longer.  Unrelentingly long to the point this audience member was almost yelling out mercy.  There are so many tour de force action beatemups in this film, that we are not even going to waste time describing them, because chances are you've already seen them, or at the very least are planning to watch this movie… to which I have to ask… what is taking you so long?

'The Raid 2' is bigger and meaner and far more ambitious than the movie it follows, and as a result, as hard as this is to believe considering how much we enjoyed the first one, it is even better.  Again, 2.5 hours is a lot of awesome to sit through, but awesome it still is.
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