DVD Review: The Raid 2
2 years ago I said The Raid was “the most intense action film I have ever seen.” and that it would be a long time until any action film “lives up to the standard that Evans has set.”
High praise for an unknown writer and director, but well deserved.
Jump forward 2 years and The Raid 2 has just been released on BluRay. On the outside I’m opening excited, on the inside, I’m a little anxious. The trailer for The Raid 2 gives the impression that the sequel might just have an overly complicated plot line, especially considering the original was basically just one big brawl in and apartment building. Then I discover that the film runs for a massive two and a half hours. Now I’m seriously worried that Evans has exceeded his capabilities as a director and that The Raid 2 is going to be a long, drawn out, embarrassment.
The film essentially starts right after The Raid ends, with rookie Cop Rama, believing that his job is done, and that he can resume normal life with his wife and daughter. But normalcy will have to wait, as Rama has opened a can of worms and is now pressured to go undercover and infiltrate the mob, in an attempt to bring down not only the criminal underworld, but also the corrupt cops that help protect it.
This journey begins with a trip to prison and a massive fight in the toilet block.
The Raid 2 starts off a little slower than I had anticipated and does nothing for my paranoia, but as with the original, once things begin to kick off, the momentum builds like an avalanche.
What Evans does with The Raid 2 is wrap a story about the criminal under world, corruption and loyalty in a blanket of ultra-violence. But not just any old violence, ingenious violence. Creative set pieces, awesome choreographed scenes that have your jaw hitting the floor, laughing for all the wrong reasons, and hiding behind your hands at some of the more visually intense moments. It’s like the story is a canvas for a masterpiece of violence to be played out on, creating a stunning visual feast in the process. It’s an unadulterated pleasure. It’s plain fucken awesome.
One of my favourite characters from The Raid 2 is known only as Hammer Girl, and is a prime example of the creative lengths that Evans has gone to to make each and every fight scene interesting and original. Hammer Girl, played by Julie Estelle, gets her name from her weapons of choice, a pair of ordinary hammers. She only has two scenes in the film, the first is in a subway train where she has to take on about 12 (sorry, didn’t have the inclination to count as the action was so intense I was hiding) knife welding bodyguards to get to a briefcase cuddling geeky character. And it’s not like she just runs along hitting each one of them in the head. She uses both sides of the hammer, blunt force trauma and ripping out throats and other body parts with the claws. It’s intense, memorable, and the chick is wearing a white dress. Well, it was white to start with.
If I had to chose a fictional character from the criminal underworld to be my superhero, it would be Hammer Girl. She is awesome.
I could go on about the crazy attention to detail, the stunning cinematography, the plot twists, and the sheer insane pleasure of seeing so many people get the shit kicked out of them, but I won’t. I only want to say one more thing:
Please purchase The Raid 2 on BluRay, and then watch it on the biggest TV you can find. It’s a film that deserves to be seen in crisp, sharp detail. It’s a film that’s so huge that you really do want to see it as big as possible. You’ll thank me for the experience.
It really is the best, most intense, brutal and satisfying action film you will ever see. Well, until Evans makes his next film.
Rating: R18 Graphic violence and offensive language.
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