DVD Review: The Raid 2
Who would have thought it? A welsh director and an Indonesian martial artist would blow the action genre apart, giving the genre the biggest shake up since John McClaine took of his shoes. The first The Raid film saw Rama (Iko Uwais) take on a tower block full of trigger happy, knife wielding maniacs run by their drug lord boss on the top floor. Second time around, everything is bigger. With a running time of 143 minutes, the film is a lot more character driven, with more dialogue and story this time. Starting only a few hours after the first film, Rama has to go undercover to save his family from the owners of the tower block. To win the trust of gang lord, Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo), Rama must win over his son, Uco (Arifin Putra). Yet going undercover brings it's own host or problems for Rama as a decade old truce between gangs are broken and loyalty is tested.
Clearly, Gareth Evans does not suffer from claustrophobia. Even when the canvas is bigger the director still confines the action to tight, closed off spaces, be it a car, train or kitchen. For Evans it would seem limitation breeds inspiration and inspired is one word for this full throttle sequel. One of the stand out scenes is a car scene that outshines anything you have seen in cinema in a long time. Evans effortlessly jumps from car to car orchestrating highway carnage.
Much like the first film, the final fight, a kitchen scene that makes Quicksilver look slow, feels over long and a little tiring towards the end while this doesn't take anything away from the epicness of the fight, sometimes shorter is sweeter. Despite this one small flaw it does next to nothing to diminish what Evans has pulled off. Only too often sequels taint the accomplishments of their predecessor but The Raid 2 ups the anti, giving Evans much more to play with, more characters to stab, shoot and disembowel. With an ending that leaves it open, what was born out of a surprise hit, could turn into a trilogy but if this is the last time we see Rama he definitely goes out with a crash, bang and wallop.