#1 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1745 posts) -

I've been eagerly anticipating this ever since I saw the credits roll on the first one in theaters. The first Raid was and still is a marvelous spectacle of some incredibly intense and well-choreographed fight scenes and certainly ranks as one of the best action movies of all time. Last night I went to watch The Raid 2 with massively high expectations due to the even greater hype it's receiving. The theater was almost totally empty; I thought I had it to myself until a a group of three friends walked in a bit later. Nevertheless, I knew I was in for a treat and hoped to high hell that it was more than just hype.

And HOLY SHIT, was it ever. You guys...The Raid 2 is fucking fantastic. Like unbelievably fantastic. It's some real next-level shit. The last act alone I think puts to shame just about every fight in the first film, which is saying a LOT, considering how amazing Rama's fight with the machete gang and the fight between Mad Dog and the brothers was.

The Raid 2 is an entirely different beast, though. It has an actual plot, and you know what? It's pretty damn good. I mean, the film wouldn't really work as well without one seeing as it's 2 and a half hours. The story doesn't really do anything new, and it actually cribs from a few other crime-dramas, but it works and it kept me engaged until the end. Let's be honest here, though. You come to this for the fight scenes, and for a movie to carry a decent epic-length story AND be able to contain about 12 or 13 action scenes is quite an accomplishment. It's obviously paced differently than its predecessor. The action doesn't come non-stop in the first two acts and it lacks the same kind of manic desperation, but if you know what to expect from this film, it never leaves you wanting for too long.

The action in what is probably more than the first half is plentiful, good and more than serviceable, and the muddy prison yard brawl that closes the first act is certainly something to behold, but much of it lacks that wow-factor of the first Raid. It almost feels like the movie knows this, though, and what follows in the final act is more than a worthy pay-off. This is where the action kicks into high gear and flows almost non-stop. Hammer Girl versus the guys on the train is especially brutal in the best way. The car chase is fucking phenomenal, partly because there is also a minutes-long martial arts fight inside of a moving car at the same time. It's simply beautiful to watch.

Then there are the final two fights. Jesus Christ...these are something that have to be seen to be believed. Rama against Hammer Girl and her baseball-bat wielding partner is one of those "FUCK YEAH" moments that puts on smile on my face the whole time that not many films pull off. But it's worth it. Then immediately following is the final fight with the assassin in the kitchen. Given that this character was introduced late into the film and didn't really mean much, this fight doesn't necessarily carry same weight of the brothers vs. Mad Dog fight of the first Raid, but it certainly matches it in choreography, intensity, and length, perhaps surpassing it in at least two of those categories. It's damn bloody, that's for sure.

Alright, I won't go on about this much longer. But if you haven't figured it out by now, The Raid 2 is fucking amazing, without a doubt one of the best action films of all time. It's gleefully violent and absolutely packed with action. Gareth Evans' directing is something other action directors should take note of. There are so many crazy and unique shots in this film and all of the fights are masterfully edited. I've never seen anything like it. I sincerely hope he gets his due in the coming years.

BIG STORY SPOILERS BELOW

If there is anything I didn't like about the film, it's that Rama's brother Andi is killed off in the very first scene. His death plays almost no role in the rest of the movie. What's worse is that Rama didn't get proper revenge for him. I would've liked him to be the one to take out Bejo. Instead this whole aspect is neatly forgotten about pretty early on.

#2 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1745 posts) -

I SAID LET'S FUCKING TALK ABOUT THE RAID 2. Shame on whoever hasn't seen this masterpiece yet.

#3 Edited by AMyggen (3045 posts) -

I don't even think it'll be shown where I live, so have to wait for the home version. Watching the first film with about 500 other drunk people at a music festival is my all time favourite movie experience, so I'm fucking hyped!

#4 Posted by caska (118 posts) -

Man this movie is so good!

I thought it was a bit slow in some places but overall this movie is amazing. Right now I can't really think of another car chase that's gone on for that long and actually been fun to watch.

#5 Edited by Kelswitch (141 posts) -

Film is fantastic yo, absolutely fantastic.

The lack of a cutaway on that shotgun blast at the end was a jaw dropper, the entire screen erupted in twisted laughter at it.

#6 Edited by The_Ruiner (1056 posts) -

I saw it opening night and I have very mixed feelings about it. It was exciting for most of it. The thing that really worked about the first movie was it's simplicity. This movie tries to do so many things at once and some of them work really well and some of them fail completely. So many of the threads it set up in the first act just fall to the wayside. The actor playing Rama was asked to actually act a hell of a lot more in this one, and I just don't think he was up to the task. In fact Rama's whole storyline was the least interesting part of the movie. He spends so much of the movie just drifting into the background and he's completely overshadowed by his far more talented costars. The gangster and his son, in particular, are really really strong and I think you could have made a pretty great movie out of just their subplot. In fact this movie kind of feels like 2 movies and a couple of short films all thrown together. It all feels incredibly unfocused. If all you care about is fights, there are plenty of them and they're very well done. But fights are only exciting if you care who wins. By the end of it's 2.5 hour run time, I really didn't care what happened to anyone.

I have to say I enjoyed this movie for the most part. The action is top notch, the cast is likable, and the camera work is gorgeous. It's far more ambitious than in predecessor, unfortunately I think it's reach exceeds it's grasp in some key areas.

#7 Edited by Fram (605 posts) -

Loved the first one, loved the sequel too. I'm so glad they didn't go the route of "trap main character in another enclosed space and have him fight out of it" but rather expand the scope while keeping the urgency / craziness of the fights intact. True, it's much more deliberately paced than the first film, with a lot more dialogue and characters to juggle. But generally these are kept to archetypes that are easy to identify, and it's all the more exciting to know a bit more about these people as they are taken out in expertly choreographed scenes of violence.

I'd love someone to take the Sleeping Dogs engine and make a video game based on this film. The potential for badassery is infinite.

#8 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1745 posts) -

@the_ruiner: I kind of agree, though I thought each part was compelling enough on its own to make the film work as much as it needed to. I think of the story of this film as basically being a mash-up of The Godfather and The Departed/Infernal Affairs, except rather than built to weave an engrossing and intricate tale, it's simplified to the point where it only needs to serve a crazy action extravaganza. I personally still cared about Rama and was rooting for him at the end, but you're right. His arc was broken up too much. The first act in the prison was fantastic and all about him, but then the second act and part of the third had a lot of different threads thrown into the mix. I've heard a few people say that Prokoso's arc should've been cut out or shortened, but what happens to that character is the main turning point of the story (not to mention his fight scenes are pretty damn good). There probably are things that could've been changed or taken out, and there actually were a number of deleted scenes, but I don't really know how to change that much of the film for the better without making it completely fall apart.

All I know is that I really appreciate that this movie went for it all the way, and I love that we have this sequel that is so completely different than the first, yet never forgets what you came for for a second.

Film is fantastic yo, absolutely fantastic.

The lack of a cutaway on that shotgun blast at the end was a jaw dropper, the entire screen erupted in twisted laughter at it.

Oh hell yeah, that was great. Call me morbid, but I wish fewer movies would cut away from shit like this, though perhaps that it being so unexpected is what makes it a fun surprise. I recently watched an awesomely bad movie starring Luke Evans called No One Lives which features a gruesome shotgun head-splatter. I love that shit!

#9 Posted by Nitrocore (369 posts) -

The director really went Nicolas Winding Refn on some scenes, I think it paid off for the most part. The plot was a bit all over the place though, I prefer the simplistic approach of the first film. The fighting was good although it differed from the first film, given the amount of space they had to play with. I liked it and will no doubt watch it again some day.