Raid 2 is the old school gangster movie done right – an expansive sequel of gangs and turf wars with brilliantly executed action scenes that will make you hold your breath.
Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.
The sequel adds a little more to the mix and creates a head-spinning cocktail with double the effect.
Raid 2 improves upon the shortcomings of the original, taking its time to set-up a story and present its new Tarantino-esque characters. It expands the nominal setting (ripped off by the latest reboot of Judge Dredd), taking the audience outside of the tower block into a typical world run by organized gangs – body dumping sites, swanky headquarters, rivalries, territorial disputes and corrupt police officials. Rama must not only pull off a cover but also deal with ambitious players who plan to disrupt the system for their own good.
The sequel comes with the same inventive camera work. The film managed to create clear action sequences despite more enemies and wider sets where the lead could have easily gotten lost in the fray. New characters and locations added more interesting choreographed fight scenes. Apart from the bone breaking and limb twisting martial arts, you also get different hack, bash and smash ways to do the job.
While the plot develops from a serviceable story, the sequel has a contrived and predictable narrative. Like in epic action films, the good guy has inexhaustible endurance. It has the potential to be a more nuanced gangster movie with a good cast but sets it aside.
But Raid 2: Berandal is not here to explore existential questions about identity as tackled by (superior than the Departed) Infernal Affairs or linger in its simple yet distinctive set pieces like (the uber pretentious) Only God Forgives, even if it borrows a few pieces from these two films.
It’s a gangster movie with some of the best action set pieces in modern cinema. And sometimes that’s all you need – a simple and straightforward movie that delivers over the top yet entertaining violence that make you give a sigh of relief when the lead limps away in one piece.
My Rating: 7.5/10