Movie Review: “The Raid 2” Is An Outstanding Action Epic

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Review by James McDonald

Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.

In “The Raid 2”, director Gareth Evans picks up the story right after the events of “The Raid”. This time around, Rama (Iko Uwais), the hero from the first movie, is approached by a small division within the police force. They were established so that they could take down corrupt politicians and police officers. Rama initially refuses but when they inform him that the man directly responsible for the killing of his brother will be his mark’s boss, he reconsiders.

He is one of the biggest crime bosses in the city so Rama’s wife and newborn baby are put into witness protection and in order for Rama to get anywhere near his mark, Ucok (Arifin Putra), the crime boss’s son, his identification is erased and he is given a new one and then arrested so he can enter the same prison as his target. While there, he has to put his feelings of revenge and anger aside and eventually gain Ucok’s trust, saving his life from would-be assassins operating on the inside. Several years later, both men are released and Ucok takes him to his father and boss where he thanks Rama for looking after him in prison and tells him that he now works for them.

While working for Ucok, Rama has to do horrible things that he swore he would never allow while he was a cop. As he meets new faces and makes friends within the syndicate, gaining their trust, he gradually climbs his way through the hierarchy until it leads him to the corrupt politicians and police pulling the strings at the top of the heap. The story is not what drives “The Raid 2” and thank God for that because it has been done a million times before, what propels it forward, is the sheer tenacity of Rama and the action set-pieces that director Gareth Evans throws at us with relentless force.

Rama, like in the first movie, has some unbelievable fight scenes that just have to seen to be believed. A new character to the film, Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) raises the stakes as her preferred choice of weapon is, quite literally, two silver hammers. The destruction she leaves in her wake is gratuitous, to say the very least. The one gripe I had was that all of these guys are supposed to be part of the syndicate yet none of them have guns. Granted, if they all had guns, Rama wouldn’t be able to showcase his amazing martial arts skills but still, it stuck out like a sore thumb nonetheless.

The ending of the movie leaves it wide open for the just-announced “The Raid 3” and that’s a good thing because, as the poster claims, you can never have enough ‘face breaking, ass-kicking, neck twisting, hammer hitting, bone shattering’ experiences all in the same movie!

In theaters April 11th

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James McDonald

Film/Theater Critic & Interviewer at Red Carpet Crash
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience in the film industry as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
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