[SXSW 2014] Review: The Raid 2

2014/03/12 17:56:31 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

The-Raid-2-reviewConsidering The Raid was one of the best actioners I had seen in decades, I had pretty high expectations going into The Raid 2, but holy hell… Evans and company didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, it may come off hyperbolic, but I’d confidently say that The Raid 2 is to the action genre what The Godfather II became to the mob drama subgenre- pure cinematic perfection and an epic follow-up that manages to surpass its already impressive predecessor in both scope and storytelling.

The Raid 2 picks up right where everything left off in the first film. Rama (Iko Uwais), dealing with the aftermath of his actions, is now forced to go undercover by the police chief who has hopes that Rama and his elite ass-kicking skills can help him finally put an end to the political corruption that continues to ravage the city of Jakarta. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; for almost two and a half hours, Evans masterfully concocts one blisteringly brutal fight after another while weaving an immensely rich tapestry of a brilliant crime tale throughout that never once lets up.

For anyone who claimed the original Raid was lacking in the plot department, you’ll be like a kid in a candy store with The Raid 2. Evans works in an immense amount of material all while keeping a nice cohesiveness to the story that gives the sequel an incredibly rich palate of characters to draw from. Although Rama is the character steering the ship in The Raid 2, that doesn’t mean Evans doesn’t take the time to give each and every supporting character their own little story moments as well. In any other director’s hand, a wealth of storylines like we see here might have been a difficult task to balance or felt bloated, but Evans makes it look downright easy in The Raid 2.

Beyond crafting a timeless crime thriller that hits every nail on the head, Evans also brings to life over a dozen breathtaking and awe-inspiring fight sequences in The Raid 2 that unequivocally have raised the bar for action movie directors worldwide.  Seriously- I don’t think there’s a bone they didn’t break in this film and each scene is uniquely brutal, thrilling and absolutely stunning to watch unfold. Also, major kudos to fight choreographers Uwais, Larnall Stovall and Yayan Ruhian for their ability to create some of the most beautifully bloody cinematic confrontations I have ever witnessed.

It’s also worth noting that there is by far one of the most incredible car chases in The Raid 2 and some of the camera moves in the film made me question everything I thought I knew about cinematography. Fans of the technical side of filmmaking should pay close to attention to the badass fight that breaks out amidst a wacky porn shoot in particular. It’s almost like Evans and his cinematographers Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono found ways to make cinematic miracles happen, as their efforts are rather incomparable.

Clearly using the expanded budget to its advantage, The Raid 2 is pretty much everything you could want from a sequel and more. It delivers on every cinematic level and beyond the fact that it raised the bar for other modern action films, Evans himself has also raised the bar for directors in any genre with his precise and meticulous approach while creating his action/crime thriller masterpiece. There are a lot of times where a movie gets hyped up too much before release, but The Raid 2 is not one of those times thankfully, as the heights of badassness the sequel manages to achieve are beyond compare. As beautiful and haunting as it is bloody and brutal, The Raid 2 is probably the greatest action film ever made and you can believe in THAT hype, my friends.

Movie Score: 5/5  

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  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last decade carving out a name for herself in the genre world as a both a journalist and as a proponent of independent horror cinema. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for DailyDead.com, and was previously a featured writer at DreadCentral.com and TerrorTube.com where her online career began; she’s also been a contributor at FEARnet as well as a panelist for several of their online programs.

    Wixson recently finished her first book, Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures, and is currently working on her second upcoming book project on special effects artists as well.

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