The original Indonesian film The Raid was one of the most brutal action packed films of all time, and now The Raid 2 is ready to try and take the crown. 2 hours of cleverly choreographed fight scenes between characters that are well thought out, interesting and leave you with a thirst for more.
The Raid 2: Barandal has a much more intriguing story line than Redemption, Barandal (meaning thug) still has plenty of action (and violence) and is a clear sign that Indonesian film is on the rise.
In The Raid: Redemption we left Rama, a member of an elite Indonesian SWAT team, having just caught the bad guy and provided with vast quantities of evidence against a number of corrupt police (by his own brother, Andi).
Raid 2 has a very different feel to it, and yet there is no mistake it is a continuation of the first film. Andi is in trouble with a mafia boss and Rama is busy trying to work out with his boss how to handle all the evidence, when a shocking turn of events prompts Rama to go undercover in jail to get revenge. He forges a close relationship with one of the Mafia bosses son's in the hope it will lead him to the proof he needs to keep his wife and son safe.
9 out of 10 scenes in the picture are fighting scenes, and each one is of the highest quality. It's a non-stop heart racer which will leave you drained of adrenaline and ready for a good nap. Guns, Knives, Sticks, Baseball bats, Hammers and Sickles - if it can be used as a weapon it probably will be somewhere.
Several scenes end with violence that even the most timid of viewers will not be able to turn away from, mesmorising is an understatement.
To give you a full idea of how good the action is I've included a youtube clip of a scene that was REMOVED not because of the content, but because they felt it didn't add anything to the story or involve anything that wasn't seen elsewhere in the movie.
If this doesn't make you want to watch it then action probably isn't your thing.
The film is full of interesting characters, and each and every one has a unique story of their own which will keep you focused. Each character seems to have been written for the cast member, almost as if they had started with the cast in place before they had the story itself.
The killers - An Assassin who's sole motivation is his own family, despite his wife not wanting to know him. A deaf girl who love's hammers, a man who kills with a baseball bat (and ball). All of whom provide some awesomely gory entertainment.
The Mafiosos - The old wiser heads, and the young ones driven by rage and greed. Just as with any other city there are players from different parts of the world all competing to run more of the city than anyone else.
The extras - Some parts of the film would barely make it into a Hollywood film, and given the conservative nature of Indonesia its more than surprising that there are scenes involving the sensitive subjects of porn and drugs. Indonesians will enjoy the use of comedians and other local stars who's roles don't match their normal celebrity images.
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The good, the bad and the damn plain odd
The good: The film has some amazing scenes and has reintroduced the idea of a proper action film. The characters are intriguing and the story is just enough and not too much. The violence is unparalleled and you are unlikely to see a film just as gory this year.
The bad: Some of the fight scenes go on just that little too long, with similar themes, leaving you with a few minutes of waiting for the inevitable. There are some injuries you notice suddenly disappear in the next scene - but don't let this detract from all the good this film is packed with.
The odd: The film is supposedly set in Jakarta, but there are three scenes which stand out as just a little odd..
In one scene it is snowing, and there is not a place in Indonesia where you would find a night club where it snows outside - don't get me wrong, it does add something special to the scene, but it made me confused.
The car chase scene is also quite surprising. For anyone who has visited Jakarta you will be well aware that traffic moves at snails pace, and even on the toll road out there wouldn't be enough space for much of the action!
Finally there is a scene with derelict building and junk lying around. Jakarta is overflowing already, there is no way you would find a place that deserted, and one of the vehicles has 'Polisi' quite visible on the side.
Stars: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Yayan Ruhian
Language: Indonesian (with some Japanese and English)
Runs: 150 minutes