The follow up to Gareth Evans smash hit martial arts film The Raid blasts it’s way into cinemas this week, and it seems that the director has adopted the credo “bigger is better” for his action packed sequel. The Raid 2 improves on the original in almost every way, and is hands down one of the best action movies of the last decade.
Picking up directly where we left off, Rama (Iko Uwais) is embroiled in an investigation into corruption within the police force that got his team killed storming the building of a drug lord in the first movie. However, to expose the depth of the corruption, Rama must go undercover inside a prison, befriend a mob boss’ son, and deal with all manner of double crossing and treachery.
If this all sounds like its a huge leap forward in terms of scale and story, it’s because it is exactly that. Director Gareth Evans has faced the shortcomings of the first movie head-on, concocting a much more elaborate plot and more complex characters to deliver a more refined and structured movie. Don’t fret though. If you’re giddy at the excitement of seeing this movie it’s probably for one reason and one reason alone. Violent, inventive and vicious action.
Clocking in at two and a half hours, barely a few minutes pass at a time without a bone crunching and brutal beat-down being handed out. Bloody, intense and wildly creative, each set-piece bests the one before and the movie is choc full of contenders for best action sequence you’ll see this year as Rama’s quest sets him on a collision course with the bad guys. Adding to the fun are a handful of gleefully bloodthirsty assassins and henchmen with their own agendas for getting involved in the plot, with Hammer Girl stealing the show whenever she’s on screen.
The movie is not without it’s faults but they are minor and few in number. While it’s refreshing to see a more complicated story, you’ll struggle at times to keep track of who’s fighting for who, and Rama’s role has been scaled back a bit to squeeze everyone else in. Those who go in wanting just more of the same will be disappointed if they’re not willing to engage with the newfound complexity.
However there’s no denying that Evans and star Iko Uwais have crafted an action spectacular that holds it’s own with the best of them. If The Raid was a straightforward punch ’em up, The Raid 2 expands on the world Rama inhabits and improves vastly on it’s predecessor in doing so. The Raid 2 raises the bar for action movies everywhere and then beats the shit out of them with it.
(Images courtesy Collider, IMDb, Tumblr, TotalFilm)