Just like the 2011 action classic The Raid did I’ll get straight to the point. The Raid 2 isn’t as good as the original. However the good news is its still a great film. Director Gareth Evans isn’t happy to just repeat his previous victory, with this he attempts to create a brutal, martial arts fueled gangster epic. Look out for fighting, shooting, car chases, and a lot of blood.
In my review of The Raid I said that ‘it never ever let’s up. There’s no superfluous side stories, no redundant dialogue, just men fighting with fists and guns and sticks‘. The sequel ambitiously drops the formula and takes us out into the streets of Jakarta for a thrilling crime saga which sees our hero Rama (Iko Uwais) go undercover in an Indonesian gang. This gives him the opportunity to punch, kick, stab, shoot, and generally whoop bad guy ass.
Immediately after the first film ends Rama is given the chance to go undercover to infiltrate Jakarta’s biggest crime syndicate. To do this he needs to go to prison and buddy up to Uco (Arafin Putra) the son of a local crime boss. It isn’t long before his fighting skills are put to the test with a huge battle royal between prisoners and guards in a muddy courtyard.
From here The Raid 2 consists of typical mob movie shenanigans interspersed with some of the most kinetic and vicious fight scenes you’ll ever see. Highlights include a punch up in the back of a car, one in a toilet cubicle, and many more jaw breaking clashes. This is brutal stuff so is definitely not for the squeamish.
When it seems that events are settling down and Rama seems safe in his role as a mafia mole Evans introduces two ridiculous but unforgettable assassins. The first is Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) who is a deaf, sunglasses wearing lady who carries two hammers in her purse. Hammers that a group of thugs get to see up close in a cramped subway carriage. The other assassin is the deadliest American-sport player since O.J Simpson. Baseball Bat Man as the name suggests beats the shit out of his victims with a metal baseball bat. These larger than life villains inject an element of danger for Rama and excitement for the inevitable face-off.
Its thrilling to watch and even though you’ll have seen this plot unfold in countless Yakuza films the presence of Iko Uwais as Rama and the clean, superbly paced direction from Evans elevates The Raid 2 above lesser efforts in the genre. A heart-pounding, ultra-violent version of The Departed, it will leave you breathless and eager for whatever Gareth Evans dreams up next. Recommended.