RELEASED: 11th April 2014
DIRECTOR: Gareth Evans
CAST: Iko Uwais, Oka Antara, Arifin Putra, Alex Abbad, Tio Pakusodewo, Donny Alamsyah, Julie Estelle, Cecep Arif Rahman, Very Tri Yulisman, Cok Simbara, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endō, Kazuki Kitamura, Cok Simbara, Roy Marten and Yayan Ruhian
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $6.5m
The Raid 2: Berandal takes place a few hours after the events of the first Raid film. Following the advice of his brother Andi, Rama meets with Lt. Bunawar, who offers Rama a mission of going undercover for him and work his way up in the criminal underworld to get evidence of corrupt police officials like Reza and their connections to the Bangun and Goto crime syndicates and if he does so, his family will be protected. Rama is put into prison to get close to a fellow inmate, Uco, who happens to be the son of crime boss Bangun, and from there things begin to spiral out of Rama’s, now under the identity of Yuda, control and he wonders whether he’ll actually be able to get out from his mission.
After The Raid’s commercial success and acclaim around the world in 2011, Gareth Evans returned in 2014 with a sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal, which is presented in a more ambitious scale than the confines of the tower block in the original. Taking place almost immediately after the end of the first film, Rama is caught in an precarious mission, as his involvement in the tower block raid in Jakarta will put his life and his family at risk. To ensure his family’s safety, Rama agrees to go undercover for Bunawar, the head of an internal investigation unit that’s looking to expose police commissioner Reza and other police officials that are dealing with the Bangun and Goto crime syndicates. Though he’s told that he’ll be in prison for a few months to befriend Uco, Bangun’s son, in order to infiltrate the underworld, but Rama is stuck in there for a few years, in which time he’s befriend Uco and when released meets Bangun and begins working for the family under Uco and his father’s right-hand Eka. Gareth Evans and company have a bigger sandbox to play in here with this sequel, and because of that The Raid 2 feels bigger on a citywide scale as we have locations that take us from prison, to nightclubs, to restaurants, karaoke clubs, to even the countryside etc., and that is captured superbly by Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono’s cinematography work here. I also particularly enjoyed the score by Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese and Fajar Yuskemal, especially when it heightens the action sequences such as the prison brawl, motor chase and the showdown in the final act. Whilst some might prefer the original due to its fast-paced action and much lower runtime than its followup (almost forty-nine minutes of difference), I actually prefer Berandal due to its bigger scale and story, highlighting that the original raid was just a minor speed-bump in an attempt to stop the criminal underworld from doing their daily routine and the sacrifice that Rama has to make mentally and physically in order to gain enough evidence to get out, though as it proves to be the case, that’s easier said than done. Gareth Evans directing and editing here is just as confident as it was in the original, arguably even moreso here, as the car chase/fight sequence within car is terrifically constructed, and the fight choreography is outstanding. I remember within the local community here that we constantly requested for The Raid 2: Berandal to be brought to the local cinema after it didn’t appear on its supposed initial cinematic release in the UK/Ireland, and low and behold after a few weeks the requested was heard, granted, and that first screening was one of my favourite cinematic experiences with a crowd, which reacted to every kick, punch and moment of brutality. While mostly relying on his skillset in the first film, Iko Uwais has a lot more to deal with in terms of showcasing his dramatic side and I really enjoy his character journey of Rama here, whose doing his best to not only maintain his cover, but not lose sight of the man he is as there’s moments where the lines between black and white become blurred. The rest of the ensemble are really good to, such as Arifin Putra as Uco, Bangun’s son whose ambition and impatience is showcased through his character arc. Tio Pakusadewo is a commanding presence as Bangun, Oka Antara is really good as Eka, as is Kenichi Endō as the head of the Goto family Hideaki. Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman and Cecep Arif Rahman are terrific as Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Man and the Assassin, the group of antagonists that Rama must come up against, and it’s nice that they found a way to bring back Yayan Ruhian as a different character to what he played in the original. The Raid 2 is a beautiful ballet of violence that will never get old for me.
FAVOURITE SCENE: While there’s plenty of memorable fight scenes in the film, my pick is pretty obvious: the kitchen fight between Rama and the Assassin.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Only a fool argues for the pride of a dead man.” – Bangun
DID YOU KNOW: The final epic kitchen fight scene took 8 days to film and contains 195 shots and is a favourite of the director Gareth Evans.