Film Review – The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

Raid 2 - post

Title – The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

Director – Gareth Evans (The Raid)

Cast – Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo, Alex Abbad, Oka Antara, Julie Estelle

Plot – The Raid 2 sets off where the first film ended with our martial arts policeman extraordinaire Rama (Uwais) sent deep undercover in a crime organisation ran by Bangun (Pakusodewo) to protect his family and expose the police corruption within it. Bones will be broken and crushed in more ways than you ever thought possible.

“If we’re going to clean up this city, we gotta get them. All of them”

Review by Eddie on 18/04/2014

Released like a bat out of hell in 2011, Welshman Gareth Evans Indonesian set Iko Uwais starring actioner The Raid can now in the years following its legacy be classified as not only a cult classic but also an undisputed action classic that gave the genre a kick (and a gas canister filled fridge) where it needed to be kicked and set the standard for adrenaline racing thrills that many Hollywood wannabes lack. With The Raid’s standing in the genre now well and truly set this larger follow up had hype a plenty that was justified with a great reception at its Sundance premiere and now in general release fans of the first can now make up their mind as to how this crime/action epic stacks up to its loved predecessor. After sitting on my thoughts for a few days now I finally feel confident in expressing my particular thoughts on what could be the year’s most memorable movie.

The Raid 2: Berandal (which stands for Thug or Thugs in Indonesian) is a massive step up in scope and territory for not only its writer/director in Evans but his cast which features the stars of the first entry Iko Uwais and everyone’s favourite Mad Dog Yayan Ruhian in a new role as “The Assassin” plus a raft of new members. Evans clearly buoyed by the success of his first Raid entry has here created a crime opus that is not dissimilar to some type of Scorsese/Tarantino piece filled with biting violence and equally snarky comical moments and scripting. It’s a brave move by Evans to create such a piece around the action that made the first movie such a breath of fresh and often blood filled air and at times sadly it does feel like there is more exposition here than was needed that stops the movie from being a full on borderline perfect action tale. To pick faults with ambition is a petty thing however when so much of the Raid 2 is above and beyond anything you have seen or are likely to see in the future both near and far.

The scope and vision spoken about earlier appears so frequently throughout this movie that it almost could be taken for granted but what watchers of this film are privy to is a film that boasts action set pieces that defy logic to be bigger and better than the one before all culminating in what can only be described as one of the best car chases of recent memory and a kitchen set 2 man fight that is all types of amazing (the cinema audience I sat in with was well and truly up on their feet and clapping by this moment, and in truth most of the movie). To mention merely these set ups though is taking away from all the previous entries which in any other movie would be enough to make it a must see. Credit needs to go to Evan’s and his star Uwais who have shown considerable growth since the first outing with Evans showcasing an incredible vision as a director which well and truly sets him up as one of the most unique and talented working today while Uwais should be proud of his growth as an actor that should set him up in good stead to have a long a hopefully great career in the genre.

There are pacing issues in this film and despite not possessing the original films unique charms and set up along with the firsts complete out of the blue appearance for many, The Raid 2 is still seriously jaw-dropping stuff that a cinema full of clapping, cheering and at many times wincing audience members can attest to. Evans and Uwais have yet again raised the bar for what we can expect from them but one feels there far from finished and the movie world is all the better for it. After this particular cinema experience you’ll never look at an action movie in the same way along with your everyday claw hammer, baseball or box cutter.

5 muddy prison brawls out of 5

34 responses to “Film Review – The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

  1. I think it’s worth stating that this film is hardly a sequel at all to the original Raid, and that Evans really just retrofitted a previously written script titled Berandal to serve as a bridge from the name brand success of the film. It’s really only a sequel in the loosest sense of the term, with all the supporting surviving characters cut out of the action fairly early on.

    Now with all that said, that doesn’t really matter because Berandal is an amazing film as you pointed out. It’s not quite the purebred, streamlined action experience that first film was, but this time we actually have a decent story, interesting characters, and a much more diverse visual palette to feast our eyes upon rather than just browns, greys, and greyish browns. I’d say this movie is more of an action/crime drama hybrid. Either way, Berandal, like the Raid, aren’t just excellent genre films, they’re genre films that achieve excellence.

    I can’t wait to see what Evans has in store for us next 😀

  2. Wow.. cant wait to treat my eyes to this feast.
    You took the words right out of my mouth..
    Excellent review eddie

  3. After checking out review, I’m even more pumped for this. Good to hear it doesn’t suffer from sequelitis.Kind of cool that a welsh director made his career take off in Indonesia.

  4. I really need to get onto this whole phenomenon because I haven’t seen the first one. It all sounds epic though.

  5. Great review as always, Ed.

    I can’t wait to watch this film… Been anticipating it ever since watching that classic teaser trailer… And now there is no release date for it in my country. And even if it does, the cunts that our stupid Censor Board is will sure try to trim it as much as possible 😐

    Looks like will have to wait for the blu-ray release only 😦

      • India 😀 …where people running the Censor Board still wear diapers 😛

        This needless trimming of movies here someday will be a strong & valid reason if I leave this country to settle in a different nation 😛

  6. Great review. This one really does teach Hollywood action flicks a thing or too. Shakier plot than the original but Evans pulls it off with such authenticity that it’s hardly a concern.

  7. Actually, I didn’t like the first one. The action and fight scenes were excellent but in the end it was just an endless parade of scraps and I got bored. This one looks better as it has a bit more story and variety. I’m off to the movies in a couple of days and am currently trying to decide between this, Noah and (despite my concerns with the trailer) The Amazing Spider Man 2.

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