First, a bit about my relationship with The Raid. I heard about The Raid about 6 months before it came out, and was beyond pumped to see it. Because it was an Indonesian film without a 'built in' American audience, I thought it would be tough for me to catch at the theater, but opening weekend it somehow screened five minutes away from my house. Moose, one of my best friends, and I went to see it's midnight release on opening day...we were the only two in the theater (which was great, because we could be as loud as we wanted, but I would have LOVED to see this movie with a pumped crowd). The Raid was amazing - a blend of martial arts and gunplay that was relentless, inventive, brutal, and fresh. It's in my top 10 action movies of all time. However, the small box office take had me worried that another would not be made.
Lo and behold, The Raid 2 (Berendal) was announced shortly after. Again, I was pumped. This time, I avoided all trailers. I avoided all teasers. During Sundance, I did catch some tweets exclaiming The Raid 2 to be everything the first was and more, a sort of 'Godfather of martial arts epics', which had me salivating. Finally, it was released...and playing nowhere near me. However, this weekend I was in Boston, and got the chance to catch it on the big screen...again, in an empty theater. Here are my thoughts.
5. You've never seen action like this before.
I cannot put it more bluntly than that. There is a ton of action in this movie, and it is INVENTIVE. I mean, every amazing scene that you figure cannot be topped is then...topped. There is a car chase scene in here that is one of the best I've ever seen. There's a fight in mud which features a long, continuous shot that seems damn near impossible. There's a fight in a kitchen that might just be my favorite movie fight scene of ALL TIME. It's that good. Bottom line is, if you're a fan of action movies, you have got to watch The Raid 2.
4. It's ambitious...sometimes, too ambitious.
There's a lot going on here. The first Raid was a scant hour and a half, and it was all ass kicking, no talking. This one rings in at two and a half hours, with a ton of plot. Some felt really shoehorned in (the bum assassin, for example). I did find the plot featuring the boss's son very compelling, and I think he did a great job throughout, but these two movies are completely different from each other (in a good way). It's not just The Raid 2: "Raidier". I think that Gareth Evans would be an amazing choice for a reboot of The Warriors.
3. I feel bad for Rama.
This movie literally starts two hours after the first Raid, a movie where Rama flipped, kicked, punched, kneed, elbowed, and shot his way out of a crack den filled with baddies. Now, he's sent directly into his next mission, where he goes away for two years without seeing his reason for trying to survive the first movie. Shit.
2. Give me a Bat-Man/MC Hammer movie.
Bat-Man and Hammer Girl were cool as fuck - but I absolutely wish I had seen more of them. "Give me the ball." These two are furiously badass (to the point of being cartoonish), but had little screen time and zero back story. Where did they come from? What happened underneath those glasses? More.
1. Iko Uwais needs more roles.
Imagine the possibilities. He's like a Tony Jaa, but he can actually act. Hell, pit him against Jaa. Iko vs. Statham. Iko vs. The Rock. Iko vs. anyone would be amazing. I honestly need to just stop writing and go see this again.