raid2Ballet In A Box
The Raid 2: Berandal
Stars: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, Kazuki Kitamura, Cecep Arif Rahman, Yayan Ruhian, Very Tri Yulisman and Donny Alamsyah
Director/Scriptwriter: Gareth Evans
Fight Choreographers: Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais
Cinematography: Matt Flannery, Dimas Iman and Subhono
Composers: Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese and Fajar Yuskemal
XYZ Films and Sony Classic
Rating: R for violence
Running Length: 150 minutes
“The Raid: Redemption” was one of the hit action films of a few years ago. In a continuation of the storyline, comes “The Raid 2: Berandal” which means “thug.” Iko Uwais (also one of the fight choreographers) also continues in his role of Rama, who goes undercover to find crooked police officers. The problem is, his own brother (Donny Alamsyah) is a mobster. The setting is Indonesia with its' spectacular night life on the streets and in secluded night clubs where men live on the brim of depravity and women are always in the background. What makes this film, as it did the first one, are the martial arts fights, which are choreographed as carefully as a ballet. Where “The Raid: Redemption” had fights all over the place, “The Raid 2” has most of them in confined spaces, such as a bathroom stall or inside a car. You'd be surprised how many people can be mangled in a stall. One must learn how to neatly stack bodies. As for weapons? Anything that is available which includes sharp objects, dull objects, guns, knives, hatchets, baseballs, baseball bats, hammers, glass and body parts. Inventiveness is part of martial arts.
The story follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he is persuaded by his police boss (Cok Simbara) to go undercover, and that means deep undercover. Rama manages to get into the crime syndicate of Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo), whose son, Uco (Arifin Putra) is the heir apparent, but as wild as they come. Impetuous, he is always a problem. Rama gets the job of befriending Uco and keeping him out of trouble. Along the way, they meet assassins out to get Bangun or Uco. There are Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) and Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) who could, respectively, belong to the carpenter’s union and local baseball club. Together, they are formidable. Then comes, The Assassin (Cecep Arif Rahman) who prefers anything that is steel, and Yayan Ruhian (also one of the fight choreographers) who is known as Prakoso and dresses like a homeless man. The assassins are allowed to show their skills throughout the film and one doesn't mind this at all. It is one good scene after another. There is a story here, that of taking down a crime family, and you know that will come, but in the meantime, the eye can't take it all in, the action goes by so fast. This is an adult film. 150 minutes later and I was worn out from watching the movie.
Acting in “The Raid 2” is fairly good. Iko Uwais always has a worried look on his face, as well he should, and gets emotion through, too. The scene stealer is Arifin Putra as Uco, the son who is the heir apparent and goes from quiet son to rage in seconds. When he inherits the throne, it will be like Caligula in Old Rome. There is a large cast in this film and time enough for each to show something of their character.
I like the action sequences in this film and the storyline, though it takes time to pull it together. Set against a great soundtrack and the nightlife of a large city, there literally isn't a dull moment. You wait to see if Rama will make a mistake or if the next assassin will be the one to bring down an important person. “The Raid 2” delivers in its own time.
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner
For more action film reviews, see the following:
Total Recall 
Escape Plan
Pacific Rim