ByJack Giroux, writer at
Jack Giroux

is some kind of a mad genius. The way he shoots action is unlike anything we're seeing in the mainstream today. It's brutal, fast, comedic, and unrelenting. It doesn't let you catch your breath, at least until that pesky thing called "plot" takes over, which The Raid 2: Berendal is light on. Evan's sequel's shortage of good storytelling is ultimately excused by his agreeable appetite for mayhem.

The sequel picks up soon after The Raid. Evans shows the repercussions from the first movie, throwing his stoic hero, Rama (), into even more challenging situations. He goes deep undercover to protect his family. First Rama will have to serve some time in prison, so he can cozy up with a crime lord's son. Of course Rama makes an impression in prison, catching the attention of one of the most powerful criminal sons in Indonesia.

Once out of jail, Rama is brought into the mob world. Refreshingly he never "gets in too deep". Rama stays the hero that he is. Evans tries to get dramatic with the brotherhood between Rama and the crimelord's son which has no impact whatsoever, especially at the end. The less story there is in The Raid 2, the better off it is.

Not only because people come to these movies to see bone crushing fights, but because the story isn't much to speak of, this sequel can often be a chore to sit through. The film hits almost every beat one expects of a routine crime story. The problem is these conventions are stretched out to almost two and a half hours. This story does not require such a length to get its simplistic points across. There's a subplot that takes up 15 minutes of the runtime that never goes beyond its plot device purpose. Despite Evans trying his hardest to make us invest in this subplot, it doesn't work and even the two fights this subplot leads to aren't very exciting. Both are technically impressive, but since they follow a disposable side character, these action beats fade in comparison to Rama's fights.

The action is all staged with immense skill. Somehow this sequel was made with only 4.5 million. Evans must get some amazing tax breaks, because the scale of these set pieces are massive. Not because there's buildings blowing up, but due to the sheer exhaustive brutality in every action scene. What's most memorable about Evan's action is that instead of having that one little cherry on the stop at the end of a fight, he has 10 cherries. Stabbing a goon five times isn't enough to finish a fight in this movie. Evans clearly believes that overkill is underrated. All the action is distinct. There's a car chase, a fight in a bathroom stall, and, best of all, a hammer fight on a subway train. These aren't the only set pieces in the movie, either. There really is no shortage of ways to kill people in these movies.

Admittedly, the energy from the first movie isn't present. The Raid never tried to be anything more than it was. It was a nonstop action movie, while The Raid 2 has plenty of expository pitstops. Still, they're worth sitting through to experience Evan's ambitious action.


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