The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2 – Review

7 Nov

Imagine that Die Hard is just hanging around, minding its own business, when someone sneaks up behind it and injects it with a near lethal dose of adrenaline. The result would be the 2012 film The Raid: Redemption. It’s exciting to see a movie, let alone an action movie, and be able to think that what I’m seeing is going to be considered a classic in the years to come. This film is so wild and damn near unstoppable that when it was over I felt like I needed to take a long shower and take a nap. That, my dear cinephiles, is the highest compliment that I can give to an action movie.

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Rama (Iko Uwais) has a pretty good life. He’s in a loving relationship with his wife and they’re soon expecting a son, but who knows if Rama is going to be there to see it. His next assignment is a raid on a tenement building run by crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy), who provides his employees, customers, and other criminals with rooms as long as they pay the price. After a small mishap, Tama is soon made aware of the SWAT team’s presence, and he soon makes all of the other criminals aware and offers a fine reward to anyone who is responsible in aiding in the deaths of every officer present. Thus begins the mayhem.

That was one of the easiest summaries I’ve ever written because there really isn’t that much story to speak of. Police go into a building full of bad guys. The bad guys find out they’re there. Then the rest is just non-stop action, whether it be with guns, knives, batons, explosives, or fists. This movie is loud, violent, and fast but never is it boring. It’s almost like I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. Is it legal to have so much action and martial arts packed into one movie? It’s like I died and went to heaven. Never have I seen a movie move so fast and behave so relentlessly. It’s an action junkies dream come true.

So since the action and martial arts is literally all this movie is about, it better be really damn good. Well it’s better than that. It’s absolutely excellent. People are literally thrown all over the place, and Evans seems to know of all of the most uncomfortable ways someone could get killed during hand to hand combat. Meanwhile, the camera zooms all over the place, covering every inch of the action and never getting so close or shaky that we have no idea what’s happening. Finally, and what may be the most satisfying, every bone breaking and fist making contact is heard in gleefully graphic detail. Not only is this an excellent action movie, it’s also just a really well made more in general.

I can see that a lot of people may not be too interested in The Raid, since there really isn’t too much of a story, only something more of a goal. Anyone who loves a good action movie owes it to themselves to see the adrenaline shot to the heart that is this movie. It’s wild.

And with such a successful action film, of course there’s going to be a sequel, but oddly enough I’m completely fine with that in this case. In fact, this is a rare example of a sequel actually surpassing the original. Just this year Evans released The Raid 2, a film that keeps the same kinetic action, but also adds a pretty lengthy story.

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Picking up right after the first movie left off, Rama goes to meet Bunawar (Cok Simabara), the chief of an anti-corruption task force in the police department. He explains to Rama that the corruption that was revealed in the tenement building is just the beginning and enlists him to go undercover to root out the dirty police commissioner, Reza (Roy Marten). Rama then spends two years in a prison to get close to Uco (Arifin Putra), the son of Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) who is one of the crime bosses running Jakarta along with the Japanese boss, Goto (Kenichi Endo). What Rama soon learns is that Uco is planning to betray his father and start a war with the Japanese, so that he and his new partner, small time gangster Bejo (Alex Abbad) can run the city for themselves.

This is a pretty odd combination for a movie. It’s like martial arts meets Scorsese. As you can very well see there is much more of a plot in this one than in the first one, and a surprising amount of development on the revelations of the first film that were minor to say the least. Originally, Evans wanted to make a movie with the same idea as this called Berandal, but he didn’t have the money for it. With what he had, he made The Raid, sold the rights for an American remake, and then used that money to make The Raid 2 which is pretty much just the updated version of Berandal to go along with the continuity of the first film. It was actually released with Berandal as the subtitle, but was just changed to The Raid 2 when it reached America.

So take everything great I said about the first one and just multiply it by 5 and that’s The Raid 2. Thanks to a bigger budget, the action is even more impressive than it was in the first film. Two characters by the name of Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) and Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) are very welcome additions to the brutal combat. There’s also the same kinetic camera work and sound, but we also get the pleasure of an excellent car chase that would never have been possible on a much smaller budget. This movie does feel a bit too big sometimes, with the complex storyline, but it’s still actually a really good story that kept me engaged the whole way through.

The Raid 2 somehow surpasses the original and kicked me in the face with high octane action and a storyline that is reminiscent of classic gangster films by Scorsese and Coppola. I can recommend this one more than the first because there is more backing it up than just really cool action, there’s also a really cool story. This is a really fantastic film that has earned its spot in history.

That’s just the thing about these movies. I’ve seen them compared to Die Hard and Hard Boiled, and much like those movies, The Raid films have secured a spot in action cinema, and film history in general. Not only are they both exceptional examples of how to make an awesome action movie, they’re also really good examples of how films should be made. It was awesome to see history in the making with Gareth Evans’ masterpieces of action.

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One Response to “The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2 – Review”

  1. CMrok93 November 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Both movies are awesome, but that second one was just kick-ass. Good review.

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