The Raid 2 Review

The Raid 2 Review "The Raid 2" or what I like to call it "The Raid Redemption 2" returns with the follow up to the smash hit the The Raid. Actor Iko Uwais returns as rookie cop Rama who survived the first raid. With a fresh new story, darker tone and brand new advesary does The Raid two hold up to it's precessor? Or is this light's out for the franchise?

Story - He thought it was over. After fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen - a fight that left the bodies of police and gangsters alike piled in the halls - rookie Jakarta cop Rama thought it was done and he could resume a normal life. He couldn't have been more wrong. Formidable though they may have been, Rama's opponents in that fateful building were nothing more than small fish swimming in a pond much larger than he ever dreamed possible. And his triumph over the small fry has attracted the attention of the predators farther up the food chain. His family at risk, Rama has only one choice to protect his infant son and wife: He must go undercover to enter the criminal underworld himself and climb through the hierarchy of competing forces until it leads him to the corrupt politicians and police pulling the strings at the top of the heap. And so Rama begins a new odyssey of violence, a journey that will force him to set aside his own life and history and take on a new identity as the violent offender "Yuda." In prison he must gain the confidence of Uco - the son of a prominent gang kingpin - to join the gang himself, laying his own life on the line in a desperate all-or-nothing gambit to bring the whole rotten enterprise to an end.

If you're familiar with the storytelling structure of The Raid franchise then you know it's mostly style over substance. The story takes a backseat to the film while the action is mainly the focus. However this isn't a bad thing when it comes to this film. The film knows who it's audience is and what they want to see. The sequel picks up a few years after the first film. Rama is under the command of an undercover division of the police force, since he is a mark man for his actions in the first film his family is in jeopardy. As stated in the synoposis above Rama is sent to prison to gain the respect of Uco the son a kingpin connected to recent crimes. This line of undercover work leaves Rama distant for years from his family. I wish the film included more scenes of the consequences of Rama being distant from his wife and son. The film shows one of two scenes of how Rama misses his family, reaching out to her to see if she was safe. However it would have been great to see more on they relationship and the effects of Rama's profession has on his family. With a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes there was plently of time to flush out Rama's story arc. Instead the character development portion is focused on the antagonist Uco and his relationship with his mafia father. While I did enjoy seeing Uco trying to gain acceptance from his father, I would have prefer to see more Rama's family in the spotlight. Minus my complaint of not seeing more of Rama's development, and characters coming and going without you being invested into them. This movie is entertaining as hell. Overall the story is simple and nothing really groundbreaking that you haven't seen before. It's has a basic identity of good guys vs the bad guys everything is black and white. Rama's doesn't really suffer from any consequences of his decisions and the cool characters like Hammer Girl don't get enough screentime or backstory. As stated earlier you don't go to see The Raid for story, you go to The Raid for action. The action is what makes The Raid 2 one of the best and violent action films of 2014.

Acting - Iko Uwais returns as Rama and he is impressive as ever. His expressions, delivery and fighting is great to see. Julie Estelle as Hammer Girl is the show stealer in every scene she was in. She didn't have much to do in the film. However when she is on screen she gives you a sense of fear that she is not to be messed with. I wanted more Estelle's character and more development to find out how did she end up in that line of work. One more mention is Afirin Putra as Uco. Putra is a great antagonist to Uwais Rama. He is what I like in a villain he's smooth, driven and has a motive that isn't over the top. Putra did a great job showing a young man driven to be a kingpin, but pull back the layers you get a man just wanting acceptance. I thought that was a great portrayal for the character.

Julie Estelle as Hammer Girl

Music/Filmmaking - The music is fantastic in The Raid 2. One thing an action film relies on to keep the audience emerse is the soundtrack. The Raid 2 composition fits the tone of the movie, it's dark, tense and keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you can find the OST I reccommend you give it a listen. When it comes to filmmaking I have to give a round appaluse to the entire staff. The Raid 2 action sequences not only tops the first one but might have set the bar for martial arts films coming out.

Final Thoughts - If your looking for a deep character journey you might want to skip The Raid 2. The Raid 2 knows its audience and what they want and it's not a shame about it. This is a sequel that delivers in the action and it's an adreline rush from start to finish. It's truly a crowd pleaser for fans of the genre.