REVIEW — “The Raid 2”
What “Dredd” was to “The Raid” so is “The Departed” (or “Infernal Affairs”) to “The Raid 2.” Unable to find a voice of its own, which is increasingly harder and harder to do in this industry, the hard-hitting highly-anticipated follow-up to the smash hit borrows from others, but does it improve on the original?
We pick up mere hours after the first one ends, and our main character is thrust into yet another violent world. This time he has to commit a crime, go to prison, and make friends with someone to get into a criminal organization (sounds familiar, right?). Where “The Raid 2” differs from other undercover cop action flicks is how the creative talent was able to manipulate the story to be built around the action. Everyone knows what they are coming to see, some incredible fight scenes, and they were able to build a solid plot around ridiculously long action pieces.
While the plot might be unoriginal the fighting is not. They were able to take what made the first one so great and amp it up by 10. This is also where things falter a bit as it loses credibility for realism when some fight scenes can last 5-10 minutes, and our character still be ready for another fight later on. Add to this that some fights last so long you can actually lose interest in them. However, there are enough bone-crunching face-splitting moments to keep any action junkie coming back for more. The choreography is incredible (not unlike an “Ong-Bak” film), and it’s hard to believe people can do the things they do. With limited visual effects, using mostly practical effects, action purest will have a field day with this.
Unfortunately for most people the spoken language is Indonesian and Japanese which means they’ll have to read subtitles, but luckily there isn’t much talking happening during the fight scenes so you can focus on the action. This was a wise choice, but wasn’t enough to stop Hollywood from remaking it (there will be an American version within the next 3 years). There are no outstanding acting performances to speak of, but there was some incredible choreography, and just about everyone deserves credit for getting involved one way or another.
My biggest gripe was the action-heavy focus as this could have been an amazing story (just like its predecessors), but that doesn’t take away from the overall quality. The non-stop action can leave some bored or tired, but there is still an amazing payoff, and it sets up nicely for a third entry (though we have to wait a few more years for that one). With gang wars, gun fights, bare knuckle brawns, prison yard shankings, crack house showdowns, and ‘exotic liaison’ appearances there is more than enough for any action lover to enjoy, but fans of non-violent storytelling will have difficulty sitting through this. Stay away if you don’t like excessive violence, but please support this if you do. 4.5/5