THE RAID 2: RETALIATION is Welsh director Gareth Evans’ follow up to the hugely popular, cult (though its popularity is bigger than the niche status suggested by “cult”) hit, “The Raid” about the deering-do of Rama (Iko Uwais), a fearless lethal weapon of a cop in Jakarta.
User reviews have been near unanimously positive. Listen to some of them: Haider-kazmee notes, “Okay so where do I begin. I saw the first one and it blew me away… while I was watching this sequel my heart was beating very fast and the adrenaline was pumping…”; ebossert gave it 10/10 and notes, “The most highly anticipated film of my life, and it actually met those expectations”. TheIneffable also gave it 10/10 and says it, “…one of the best pure action films of the last decade”; nick-sultana, also a 10/10 hails it as “A Bloody Great Sequel [his caps] that’s better than the first movie!!” Not surprisingly, it scored an 8.9 on IMDB
I can entirely understand the nature of this effusion of praise. “The Raid 2” cuts to the chase and slashes away such bourgeois niceties as character, plot, semi-coherent dialogue and acting talent. That’s all so yesterday. And thank goodness it avoided the temptation to degenerate into the balletic grace and imaginative art direction of, say a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. That’s all so Chinese.
Bravo to Gareth. What he gave us is raw brutality, unconstrained by the inconvenience of anything that made sense. For you poor readers who have not as yet had the visceral thrill of this cinematic masterpiece, allow me to offer you a few of the gripping, emotionally nuanced scenes that no doubt caused Haider-kazmee’s heart to beat so fast:
A woman (Julie Estelle as the appropriately named ‘Hammer Girl’) takes out about a dozen armed men in the narrow confines of an underground train with two claw-handled hammers. She rips their throats out, slashes their faces, bashes in their brains so that they pulp along the windows, and the rest she simply eviscerates. Allow me at this point to give a special shout out to the thirteen man sound department who contributed so much to the joy of this movie and our appreciation of what a ripping throat (gurgling, suppressed screams, squelching blood) or a battered in head (dull thudding along with the reverberation of hammer steel) must sound like.
Or in another scene of pure directorial genius, one of the many baddies (most of Jakarta it seems) slices neatly into the head of a kneeling man with a pick-axe. Again, well done sound guys. Your aural brilliance really helped to bring this one fully alive.
I could go on, but must, reluctantly, finally, herald the choreographed athleticism when one of the protagonists runs amok with a baseball bat (Gareth’s directorial subtlety allows a certain amount of artistic ambiguity to slip in here, so that we aren’t too sure who he is and why he’s actually doing this…but motivation? Hell. Who needs it). How colourful it is when we get that marvelous clash between bat and brain; such an almost Jackson Pollack-esque expressionist splatter of rich vermillions and deep crimsons.
I am so looking forward, no doubt with ebossert to The Raid3. Simply can’t wait