Garth Evans 2010 film The Raid was without a doubt one of the best action films to come out in recent years. To some its one of the greatest action films ever made, so with the next film that Mr Evans did was a sequel the anticipation was for him to deliver was very high.
The plot takes off after the events of the first film that sees our hero Rama (Iko Uwais) go undercover in a prison to infiltrate a family of gangsters to route out a corruption in to police force. Unlike the previous films simplistic one setting plot, The Raid 2 is a whole lot more ambitious. Opening up to a bigger scale and introducing a much larger world filled with characters. You could argue too much for a film that is essentially all about head cracking, bone breaking and blood splattering fight sequences. (Not that is never is a bad thing of course) The Raid 2 : Berandal has a plot that spends 30 minutes as a prison movie and that sets up a complex plot of warring gangs with multiple characters with their own agendas that side lines our hero some what. Arifin Putra plays a mafia prince who is eager to takeover the family business as he considers his father too weak to lead. Being the films second lead almost, he is great as brash, cocky, vain while still holding on to a sense of attachment to his father (Tio Pakusadewo). Meanwhile Alex Abbad plays another gangster Bejo who is looking to take over the crime syndicate in Jakarta who sneaks around like a snake, pulling the strings behind the scenes.
This sequel has ambition by the bucket load and Evans steps up to the task at delivering a confident film that with a budget of $4.5 million dollars, looks fantastic. The comparisons to Terminator 2 when it premiered at Sundance are understandable as everything is bigger and better especially when it comes to the action scenes which are off the chain and out do any of the fights the first one has to offer. This time even more gruesome and violent than the predecessor’s, it’s the ones that are lot more lavish and challenging that stick out. The free for all riot on a muddy prison ground shows off just how great Evans is at directing action but it’s the car chase/fight that is quite possible one of the best action sequences put together. Countless fights throughout it will please action fans, up until to Game of Death finale, however this isn’t the main issue. In fact the only issue is the film’s plot. As big as step forward as this is, it does feel like two movies swished together. This makes the story feel bloated and detracts the main focus away from Rama that may risk losing some of its audience mid-way through. Regardless, this is up there in the list of sequel’s that deliver and as a stand alone action flick this still kicks ass with the rest of them.