As previously mentioned, I have been very excited for the release of the sequel to the action film masterpiece The Raid Redemption. This weekend, I saw The Raid 2: Berandal and went to great lengths to make sure I would be able to. The movie came out as limited release this weekend and would be released in more theaters the following week. However, my friends and I were so anxious to see this movie that we drove an hour to go to a theater that had it and we bought our tickets online to guarantee our seats (which turned out to be a brilliant idea because it was actually sold out). The excitement in the theater was palpable as everybody sat in their seats waiting for the lights to dim and for the previews to end, signaling awesomeness was going to be witnessed. I walked into that theater with ridiculously high expectations due to all the hype that surrounded this sequel, including that it was the next Terminator 2 of sequels, and if anything this movie was under-hyped. It was that good.
This movie picks up directly from where the last one left off, but this time Rama (the protagonist) gets involved in an undercover cop scheme to exploit the crimes of the mob bosses running Jakarta, Indonesia. This scheme involves him going to jail and becoming friends with one of the bosses’ sons and ultimately joining the mob while maintaining his undercover identity. However, things go sour due to miscommunication and suspicious activity from the cop who hired him for this job and from activities going on between the different mobs. The Raid 2: Berandal had much more story and plot in comparison to the movie that preceded it and it was a wonderful change. The first movie was very simple: cops fight their way up the tower and fight the mob boss. This one has much more complicated story compared to the first movie but at the same time it wasn’t too overwhelming.
This movie being an action/martial arts film, it is known that walking in there is going to be some level of violence. However, this movie does have a lot of violence and some gore, so just as a warning for those who don’t like those types of movies. First off, I would like to say that the cinematography of this film is much better than that of the first movie and is absolutely breath taking. The more cinematic, landscape-type shots were very placid and calm in contrast to the more fast paced parts of the film. The camera work for the fight scenes is mind blowing in how I still don’t understand how they were able to film everything so perfectly. One scene had a car chase and a fight happening in one of the cars, and the way the camera weaves through the different parts of the car was so smoothly done. In addition, their ability to capture the different angles of the hand to hand combat was beautiful. The fight choreography was done in such a manner that the moves went together and flowed almost like a ballet, but more violent.
I truly believe that this movie is revolutionary when it comes into terms of action films and the approach to how it is filmed. It is a testament to how such a quality film can be made without a large budget or fancy, expensive special effects. However, one thing that is disheartening is that American filmmakers want to make The Raid franchise but with American actors. I believe that a film like this shouldn’t be remade to fit a more mainstream audience, it should just be remembered by how it is and how it was originally intended to be seen. This movie will inspire aspiring directors and filmmakers and one day they will remix The Raid franchise into something new and different for the future generations. I highly recommend this film to any action movie fan and especially if you are into martial arts/hand to hand combat. You can count me in to watching this movie again in theaters when it is released to all theaters.