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The Raid 2: Gareth Evans and His Action Opus

July 18, 2014

The Raid 2 Movie Poster

The Raid 2 numbs you with awesomeness and proves that Gareth Evans is a director to watch. His ambition is seemingly endless and in Indonesia he has the resources to do what he wants. The Raid 2 is a sprawling crime epic that relishes in blood and leaves you exhausted. It is 148 minutes of stylized action that never lets up. Ancillary characters get their own showpieces, cars are crashed and the stunt crew must have been happy when the movie wrapped.

What I love most about the The Raid films are the characters. Among all the carnage they stand out and become memorably likable/despicable. Their personalities shine through and they give you something to cheer for.

The Raid 2 characters

Many films feature massive action scenes that don’t matter because you don’t care about or like the characters (I’m looking at you Die Hard 5). When you like or despise the characters the action is more important because you know who they are and what is at stake (Saving Private Ryan did this perfectly). Sure, Raid 2 is too long and some of the fighting lacks urgency but Evans has earned the right to do what he wants with characters he has created. My favorite of the bunch is Eka. He is just a badass dude who knows the drill and has worked his way up via blue-collar face punching.

The Raid 2

The Raid 2 tells the story of Iko Uwais going undercover to pull out the roots of the violent organizations splitting up the city. What he doesn’t know is that it will be a three-year long process that has him battling gangs, cops and a woman with a hammer. The plot gets intricate as the son of a crime boss teams up with a nefarious yet slightly hipsterish gangster. This causes a problem with the Japanese and the plot becomes slightly muddled but never out of reach. Basically, things happen so people can beat the snot out of each other.

Iko Uwais once again proves to be a choreography genius and the set pieces he and Evans create hurt to watch. Over the years the two have developed an understanding that has created great bone crunching mayhem. For instance, the opening scene features Iko in a small bathroom stall that is about to be infiltrated by annoyed prisoners. The fight is a marvel of close quartered brutality that uses the small location perfectly for one on one fighting. You actually feel bad for the prisoners who get singled out and crunched.

The Raid 2 prison fight

Evans showcases Uwais while Uwais brings the cinematic pain. You can tell they are friends too.

1797711_ca_raid_gareth_evans_JLC

The Raid was a small-scale action film that hit really big. The Raid 2 is action on a grand scale that was done much cheaper than any other Hollywood blockbuster. It is non-Hollywood filmmaking that should be appreciated (Much like the beautiful Snowpiercer). Evans is wonderful to have around and with each film (his segment in V/H/S 2 was amazing) he is getting better and better. I just hope he never loses the side of him that created the economy and urgency of The Raid. 

The Raid 2 is a sprawling action saga that hits hard and often. Watch it. Love it. Hope that you never find yourself in a muddy prison riot.

The Raid 2 Prison Riot mud

If you get a chance check out Gareth Evans five favorite fights.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2014 3:36 pm

    This one really does teach Hollywood a thing or two! I felt the story was weaker in this sequel but it also freed up Evans to do some really grand action sequences that really paid off. Great review.

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