A film like this can only be described as a monument to excess, an absolute exercise into the limits of testosterone. It was a one money shot after another that fed to my primal senses. It appealed to the true core of an action fan. It fed my every desire I have for an action flick, and then more. I felt like I was watching pornography, and stuffing my face with cake at the same time. Watching this movie is an indulgence, and the ultimate guilty pleasure. I fucking loved this movie. Saying anything else to express my feelings is an affront to what this film represents. It just doesn't care, Gareth Evan's made a movie exactly the way he wanted too, nut's to what to what other's said. It's balls to the wall pure unadulterated violence, and it was sweet.
This movie is a great homage to old martial arts films and is a good representation of the true nature of combat. It feature's some of the best Technical martial art's I have ever seen and that's barley scratching the surface as too why this movie is the best. He gave us everything that made the first one great X 10.
The new bar of on-screen effects were set by this movie, the practical use of prop's mixed with digital editing was magnificent. Everything was so realistic looking, and that made the style and choreography that much more subtle. There was story in this one as well! The plot had a strange mixture of the Godfather, blended with Donnie Brasco, with a hint of on screen Oz's prison riots. Every part was compelling and demands your full attention. A great combination of gruesome action and class meshed together uniquely in this movie. This movie was the opposite of bashful, and only practiced no hold's barred. It went for the K.O every scene, no character was sparred from a brutal and realistic end. Realistic on screen death's are so common and so realistic that Malaysia banned screening's completely.
The entire movie was one big climax the entire duration, and one wild ride at that. There's nothing to distinguish rising from falling action in this film, thing's just keep growing in scale. More and more men join the rank's of faceless baddies and the body count is immense. Each action rivals the previous one and every detail is brutal and sharp. Emotion is stuck into you like a knife, everything is heavy handed for the purpose of style. And my oh my was this movie stylish. The aesthetics were set to mach the intensity, everything was dreary and the scenery very minimal. All of the color's were dulled so it was such a cold setting. And as a perfect topping of this delicious style, intense over exposure put a shot of pure adrenaline in the veins of the movie. The 150 minute running time not only tolerable, but left me wanting so much more.
The cinematography was phenomenal and some of the shot's are revolutionary. The technical prowess for the camera work speaks to the dedication the production crew had on this project. I was impressed by the first one, and this one blew all that away. The jib shot during the car chase, priceless. This movie is an expression of passion, and a testament to the capabilities of modern film making.
New angles of shot's were demonstrated at least twice a scene, and they all worked to make nothing seem repetitive. Although there was action to the gills with this film, every sequence felt as fresh as a daisy, and I mean EVERY TIME. I must have watched at least thirty people get their throats slit-ripped-cut out, and I cringed each time. Every death affected me as much as the last. Visionary shot's were around all corners that displayed scene's we had seen hundreds of times in completely new way's. That shot through stab wound? incredible, I haven't seen anything like that since School Day's. Usually an action movie desensitizes me to the action eventually the entire thing get's stale, but that sure didn't happen with the Raid 2.
A really practical approach was taken when doing the most extreme action sequences. A car being shot through a building with an air cannon, looked much better than a car un-moving in front of a green screen. People never can seem to capture the essence of physics when they're creating them with CGI. Something really happening just look's better in action than something being digitally made behind someone. The practicality of the movie extends to the action as well. Blood squibs, on top of blood squibs, baby, nothing suits the action better.
After about half the movie, I thought the production budget must have been completely dry, but then things just kept getting better! Every action sequence was done in real time with actual stunts. At one point they're driving a car at high speed's with people hanging off of them, WHILE THEY'RE FIGHTING. This is partly due to the lack of law's surrounding production safety in Indonesia, but I'm not complaining this movie was sick! And oh my the combat. The gun play is flawless, the weapon use and skill is incredible, and the hand to hand sequences are next to none.
This movie is the ultimate man's film. Every former action champion was dethroned by even some of the supporting character's in this film, and Iko Uwais now is the undisputed king of action. Someone needs make a kill count for him during the last two films, seriously It will be enormous. He is the one man rampage that kill's one man rampages. Move over John McClain, Rama is everyone's new everyday hero, and he'll kill more people than Rambo did in all his movies before breakfast. Not saying Iko Uwais is the best marital artist I have ever seen of course, that title still belong's to the Dragon Bruce Lee.
Every aspect of realistic scenery in this movie are filled to the brim with intensity that makes it amazing. Berandal is an Oxymoron in existence and should be flawed, but it just isn't. Practical effects are combined with just enough digital editing to make every transition in this movie flawless. The anal attention to making sure there isn't a visible cut's during action make's me ponder how they managed to make it look so real. Peoples faces disintegrated with shotgun blasts, and I couldn't figure out for the life of me how they did it. And there were thing's Evan's had to cut out of the film for it to get an R rating from the MPAA.
That's a deleted scene that neither add's nor subtracts anything from the Plot of the film. That sequence wasn't awesome enough for the final cut, that's how awesome this movie is.
The limit of film making was pushed in it's entirety with this new brash, bold, and just plain cool movie. It is a unique showing of ultra-violence that's so stylized, one might have thought Tarantino had a hand in it. The realism of people being disemboweled, blown apart, or just getting destroyed baffled me. And I'm someone who has a seasoned eye for this kind of thing. I couldn't figure out just how some of that was movie magic. My disbelief was completely suspended, and I haven't felt this level of anxiety since I saw the original Final Destination. And I was like eight the first time I watched Final Destination. Shaky cam coupled with intense gore made me want to look away, but I just couldn't. This was one of the most attention grasping movies I have ever seen. In every way this film was the maximum amount of awesome. Every action sequence grew in size, running in parallel to an ever increasing plot. Scene's just kept building like a Deadmau5 song. (Credit to my buddy Will for that one)
Evan's manages to introduces half a million different supporting character's, and somehow developed interesting content for all of them. Even if we knew jack about them, each person dawned traits that made them sweet. I'd watch an entire movie about characters like Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Boy, who only were on screen for like three scene's. (Yea those guy's didn't even have names, they're not important enough to the plot to be named, and they still totally deserve a mention) I don't even know what mad dog's new characters name was and he was to this movie what Luca Brasi is to the Godfather, except ten times more bad ass. He was the mass killer most feared by a whole freaking community of bad ass killers.
Gtarth Evan's combines all the aspects of his prior works into one big melting pot. The technicality of Pencak Silat from Merantau, the intensity of the original Raid, and the plot depth and writing style of his V/H/S II skit to make an almost perfect representation of it's story. I can think of very little way's to make this film better.
From a cinematographer's standpoint, this movie is is the epitome of practical stunts. Above being cool though this movie is an achievement. It is one of the most awe inspiring movies ever made. Needless to say I'm severely impressed. The Raid 2: Berandal was insane, over the top, and fit it's own mean's perfectly. Overall I'd give this film a 4.5/5, and I will have to say I have a new favorite action movie, and I can't wait till the third one.