There are action movies and then there is 2011s The Raid: Redemption. This movie took the action world by storm and set the bar high for all those to follow. It came as no surprise that after the success of this brilliantly violent action film was going to spawn a sequel aptly titled The Raid 2: Berandal, but could it possibly live up to the greatness of the original?
The Raid 2: Berandal follows the rookie cop as he exits the building from the original film leaving a blood bath behind and ready to resume his normal life, but it’s not over yet. The criminals in the original film were just a smaller part of the a bigger organization. Now to protect his family he will have to go undercover to enter the criminal underworld and gain their trust so that he can bring the entire organization down. Where the original film was a stream lined piece of action perfection, this film takes the story into a broader world and steps things up even more than you would have thought possible. Where the original film jumps right into the action and never allows you to catch your breath, this entry builds on the story and allows more characters to be introduced and gives lead Iko Uwais a lot more to do with not only the action, but with his emotional performance to help elevate the character even more. Everything about this film just works. The story side of it takes what they already established and does what they should with any sequel is take it bigger, but they keep the underlining aspect to what made that first film so awesome. With a longer run time than the original it will sometimes feel like it takes a bit longer to get to some of the action it is well worth it. They have not only kept the high quality brutality from the original, but they have taken it to a new level delivering some brilliantly executed fight sequences including a brother and sister team that are just awesome. They are intense and more brutal than ever delivering just what the fans expect. There are way too many awesome action moments to name, but one treat is the return of Yayan Ruhian who stole the show as Mad Dog in the original. Have no fear he is not playing the same character and is almost unrecognizable, but make no mistake he brings the pain. While he doesn’t get as much to do this time around, he gets his time to shine and is an awesome nod to his contribution to the original film.
The work and skill that Gareth Evans and the rest of the team show in this film as it has taken the high bar that they set with the Raid and have taken it to an almost impossible level to compete with. It is rare you get a follow up that does such a great job taking things to the next level and it will be interesting to see what Evans has in store for The Raid 3, but there is no doubt it will run the risk of giving people a heart attack if the intensity keeps building and what a way to go. If you consider yourself an action fan and want to keep your credibility intact, then you need to get out and see The Raid 2: Berandal.
For more information head over to http://www.sonyclassics.com/theraid2/