‘The Raid 2′ Review

Published 7 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:36 am,

The Raid 2 Reviews Berandal The Raid 2 Review

The Raid 2 leaves us somewhere in a middle ground: a slow and convoluted crime saga story to sift through in order to experience some bigger, bloodier, crazier action sequence highlights.

The Raid 2 (also known as Berandal) picks up hours after the events of The Raid: Redemption, as the fallout from rookie cop Rama’s (Iko Uwais) siege on Boss Tama’s high-rise compound makes big ripples in both the cop and crook worlds. Rama quickly finds himself between a rock and a hard place; not only are murderous gangsters looking for him, the corrupt cops and politicians who green-lit Boss Tama’s trap are after him as well. On the advice of a veteran cop he can trust, Rama agrees to a dangerous mission: go undercover in the criminal underworld to root-out the real threat of political corruption in Jakarta.

After much time and hardship, Rama manages to infiltrate the inner circle of Ucok (Arifin Putra), the son of crime boss Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo). But as the saying goes, it’s warmer under the dragon’s wing than one might think. When rival gang leader Bejo (Alex Abbad) starts a clandestine war for the streets of Jakarta, Rama finds that his choice of bedfellows isn’t as clear-cut as he originally thought – and not everyone is who they originally seem to be.

The Raid 2 Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso The Raid 2 Review

Yayan Ruhian in ‘The Raid 2′

The Raid: Redemption was nothing short of a new milestone for the action genre (read my 5-Star review – Spoilers: I liked it). Using bare minimum, writer/director Gareth Evans scrapped together a sick single-setting action/horror thrill ride, complete with camera tricks and martial arts choreography that hadn’t really been seen before; living in that shadow, The Raid 2 would have to do something truly astounding to top its predecessor. Sadly, despite its expansive ambitions, The Raid 2 falls short of matching the simple pleasure of the first installment – but for action fans, there is still some next-level stunt and choreography work alive and present in Evans’ sequel.

Berandal is basically the movie Evans wanted to make before budgetary restrictions forced him to make The Raid: Redemption instead. The sequel in many ways seems like a celebration of the first film’s success (and an expanded budget), which is both good and bad for the film, overall. Yes, there are some pretty crazy ambitious set pieces and fight sequences – and a lot more evidence of Evans’ stylistic fingerprint in the way shots and sequences are designed and executed onscreen (see: the prison yard riot sequence). The Raid 2 looks – on a directorial level – much more sophisticated and lavish than The Raid 1, proving that Evans has artistry to go along with those action sequencing skills.

The Raid 2 Prison Fight Sequence The Raid 2 Review

However, much of The Raid 2‘s biggest sequences feel arbitrary and disconnected from overly convoluted narrative (more on that later). On the whole, the film feels like “action porn” – i.e., a pastiche of scenes and bloody “money shots” that are loosely strung together by a flimsy and clichéd narrative, which only serves to transition us from one bloody sequence to another. Several of the battle sequences have nothing at all to do with our main character – they’re just there as evidence of Evans’ filmmaking creativity and prowess, another deposit in the Berandal money-shot bank. In the moment, each action sequence is pretty captivating to watch – but without proper story/character support, the film becomes a flaccid routine around the time the thirtieth bone is being sadistically broken, or the seventeenth gash is being grotesquely cut through flesh. The pleasure quotient of action porn has a pretty short shelf-life.

That’s not to say that Evans doesn’t tack a story onto The Raid 2; in fact, it’s a much more intricate and layered story than first film. However, complexity is not always a good thing: the first film benefitted from its thrilling simplicity (get to the top of a building full of psycho addicts and murders without dying); the sequel nearly drowns in its over-bloated cast of characters and their accompanying storylines. Just talking dramatis personae: there are three crime boss characters (Indonesian, Japanese and Arab); a Godfather-style father/son crime drama; a whole sub-set of assassin characters who get their own storylines and sequences; and oh yeah, Rama’s Infernal Affairs undercover drama is part of it, too.

The Raid 2 Berandal Uwais The Raid 2 Review

Iko Uwais in ‘The Raid 2′

It’s far too much to keep track of, and at 2.5 hours of runtime, the bloated weight of the film is all too noticeable as it drags along.  The Raid 2 is admittedly a universe-expanding chapter of the franchise (stay tuned for The Raid 3), and so therefore it has a lot of narrative to service and set up – but some of the choices that Evans makes with the storyline are downright shocking – and not in a good way. The first 10 minutes of the film will likely baffle fans of the first film – as will the point where the sequel leaves off. Worse yet, the overall point or theme of this intricately woven crime saga is unclear, as the violent climax doesn’t work nearly as smartly or as effectively as, say, the final moments of PT Anderson’s There Will Be Blood – which this movie has “borrowed” from quite liberally…

The cast of actors include both veteran and fresh faces from the Indonesian film industry – including some regulars from “Camp Evans.” Performances are solid, with Tio Pakusodewo bringing some theatrical gravitas to make Bangun an interesting antagonist, and Iko Uwais being given a lot more range to work with. Julie Estelle’s “Hammer Girl” doesn’t say much but will nonetheless be a fan-favorite (one of the better elements of the movie); but Yayan Ruhian (‘Mad Dog’ from the first film) is completely shoehorned into the mix, in what is one of film’s most needless and extraneous plot threads. The physical acting is top of its game though, and is easily the one area in which the sequel exceeds the original. Some of what choreographers Uwais and Ruhian come up with is deliciously crazy… and pretty awesome to witness onscreen.

Hammer Girl in The Raid 2 The Raid 2 Review

Hammer Girl in ‘The Raid 2′

Ultimately, The Raid 2 leaves us somewhere in a middle ground: a slow and convoluted crime saga story to sift through in order to experience some bigger, bloodier, crazier action sequence highlights. A bit of a sophomore slump – but not for lack of effort or ambition on the part of Evans and his crew. Let’s just hope that The Raid 3 (which apparently will attempt an ambitious midquel story approach) will cut some fat and streamline things back down into a leaner, more focused narrative direction. Given the body count in this chapter, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

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The Raid 2 is currently playing in limited release. It expands to wide release soon.

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Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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  1. Disappointed that its not as great as the first Raid but not really suprised since the first one was something we had never seen.Still going to see it though because from the review it still looks like a good enjoyable movie.

    • ‘Disappointed that its not as great as the first Raid.’

      Disappointed that someone, who isn’t you, said it’s not as great as the first Raid. So you immediately trust someone else’s opinion without watching it? I’m going to hold back any suspicion until actually watching the movie. This is the same website that gave 12 Years a Slave a mere 3/5 after all.

      • Im disappointed to hear that its not as good as the first one and if you had continued reading my comment i said i was still going to see the film.I usually always agree with screenrants reviews especially kofi thats why im disappointed because we usually have similar opinions.

        • Guess I was too late. :)

      • Perhaps he has read the reviewers other movie reviews and found someone who shares his taste in movies? Perhaps you missed the part where he said he was going to see it anyway? Perhaps 12 Years a Slave was a snorefest? Who knows?

        • I really dug 12 years.

          But I do agree that reviews, especially those of particular reviewers that you have taken a liking to, are a great reference point to use when choosing which movies to go see. It bugs me when people say you’re stupid for listening to reviews. You don’t read a review to make you not wanna see a movie, or vice versa. It’s just a reference point. Plus, some reviews are just fun to read and/or watch (i.e. Kofi, Jeremy Jahns, etc…) I hope that makes sense.

      • In all honesty, we had 12 Years months after the US did and after all the hype, it wasn’t really that good.

        It’s like Gravity, everyone goes crazy for it in America but then it releases, you watch it and you walk out thinking “so, what was so great about it then?”.

  2. I can’t wait to see this once/if it hits in theaters near my home I am going that night.

  3. Going to rewatch the first one tonight. I live in Philly and closest theater playing is in NYC.

    • Tell me about it… I live in SLC,UT we don’t get it till 4/11… and its only in 1 theater and the date might change :/

  4. how do we find out where this is being played? I don’t see anything listed at the theaters in my town. Is this limited release once again?

    • Right now it’s in New York and California I believe and later it will release in other places across the country.

  5. To be honest, although i think this does look great, this summed up my thoughts on the first film; “the film feels like “action porn” – i.e., a pastiche of scenes and bloody “money shots” that are loosely strung together by a flimsy and clichéd narrative, which only serves to transition us from one bloody sequence to another.” I’m looking forward to The Raid 2 though, looks excellent.

  6. *sighs* The advertisements all had me under the impression that March 28th WAS the wide release. I guess we’ll have to wait until April 11th. *sighs*

    My friend who lives in LA already saw the movie. He told me as it is not like the first one, it doesn’t make it any worse, but the action is really good. He told me he would definitely spend another $10 to see it again.

  7. Holy smokes, 2 1/2 hours???

    I guess I shouldn’t drink too much coffee the day I go see this. ;)

  8. MOst other reviews have said this is better than the first in most/many ways. I think this review is a bit nostalgic about the first Raid (as many of us are). I expect the Raid 2 to be action art of the highest order. Gareth is a God send to action lovers. Period.

  9. The one to look out is Bejo (the guy with the walking cane).

    He’s a rival gang boss with the 3 most deadly assassins .
    Killer #1 the middle aged man with 2 short curved knives. He’s the final boss battle with our hero.
    Killer #2 Baseball bat boy. He’s the brother of Hammer girl.
    Killer #3 Hammer girl. She’s mute. Sister to Baseball bat boy.

    Bloody good!

  10. spot on review kofi. the movie dragged on, even in the action department. my the 2:1 fight at the end i was excited that the movie would be ending soon, which is bad b/c i loved the 1st. the final fight was also very bs and unrealistic (compared to the realism of the 1st) considering that rama just fought and got hurt pretty badly by 2 top condition assassins -.- he got his main artery (behind the kneecap) sliced yet kept fighting, but when it happened to the other guy, the other guy start limping and loosing focus – not realistic and very hollywood/HK cinema style.

  11. Just watched the movie, and only viewers with no appreciation to action genre will leave the cinema unimpressed.
    I suggest you to watch it before assuming the sequel is not as great as the first one, merely from someone’s review. It is by far the most astounding action scenes collection in one movie. Yes, the story line might be too long (Its a 2.45 hour long movie) and some of the story of the characters might be a little unnecessary. But it is covered by really well thought and planned action scenes, memorable scenes that put up action genre in another level. If you are a fanatic of the genre, your pleasure will be satisfied by watching this movie.

  12. Before you go and watch it you should prepare by watching every Punch, Kick, Shot and Kill in The Raid 1!! There’s a youtube video where every single movement has been counted! More than 800…

    http://youtu.be/_­vB-hngwQ-w

    I find it hard to believe that The Raid 2 can ever beat that :)

  13. I think the reviewer on here is a bit too harsh. Every other trusted and well respected reviewer in the industry gave Raid 2 a Four and a half to five star review and these are guys on television. So, I don’t know if I trust this review too much. I am talking about USA today, Schmoes Know( who gave it four and a half and a five out of five star review mind you), etc. So, I believe the reviewer needs a second viewing. This is Donnie Brasco, meets Scarface, meets Kill Bill. This has to be the most anticipated action film of the year. Deserve more love than a measly 3 stars

    • They’re on TV – so they must be right.

      • @Kofi
        I can’t tell if your being serious or sarcastic. Haha.

      • Forgot to say : good article Kofi.

  14. Afraid i’m gonna have to own up to this one – When i saw Kofi was reviewing this i thought “Oh Yeah, Great, what’d he give it a 10 out of 5″ but, sure enough, my man STAY unbiased

  15. Just saw it & to be honest, it is an outstanding movie. Way better than the sequels we get here for action movies (good day to die hard). It’s building a story that couldn’t be told in the 1st one. I give 5 stars & cant wait for part 3.

  16. Where can I watch this movie? It isn’t playing ANYWHERE near me.

  17. Just watched it and I must say…Holy Smokes what a Fu..ing great Action Flick !!
    Loved every Minute of it,the action scenes are some of the best captured on Film,
    with quite long takes and not so many cuts to destroy the flow !

    Just recommended,if you love Martial Arts Movie this is a must see,
    if you don’t Love them…it’s a must see action Feast !!!

  18. Wow Rama vs Baseball guy and Hammer girl was insane, absolutely loved this movie not only does it stand up as a great crime drama in my opinion but it is the greatest action movie made.

  19. One of the reasons I frequent SR so often is because I find the reviews so spot on and in tune with what I like 90% of the time. I couldn’t agree more with this review. I think the film would have been so much better if they chopped off 45-60 minutes of the film. It definitely lacked the intensity of the first. Also the set up for a lot of the fight scenes felt really contrived. I’m not a fan of gore so things like a shotgun to the face doesn’t really impress me. What does impress me is the expertly crafted choreography. My favorite scene was easily the hallway fight between Rama and Baseball Bat Man/Hammer Girl. Ultimately a mixed bag for me and as a movie as a whole doesn’t even come close to the first film.

  20. Just watched it.

    All I can type is : Gareth Edwards is Godsend !
    He was sent from above to rescue us action film buffs from Hollywood generic action flicks.

    Gareth Edwards should leave Indonesia and come to Hollywood, where he is given free reign for every single action movies till the next decade.

    • it’s gareth EVANS, stupid.

  21. I dunno, I’ve read so many reviews complaining about the length and complexity of this movie’s plot, and I don’t really get it. I barely noticed the movie’s length at all and I found the story very easy to follow. The Raid 2′s narrative wasn’t any more complex than your average gangster plot.

    My only real complaints with R2 is that Evans packed too many fights back to back to back in the last third of the film, Yayan’s hair looks ridiculous, and the Japanese Goto gang doesn’t really do much. Other than that, I was fine with Evans’ script. Are you guys really that incompetent at following simple narratives???

  22. I stopped reading after:
    “The Raid: Redemption was nothing short of a new milestone for the action genre”.
    No, it wasn’t a milestone. It was an adequate and good action film. But milestone? It doesn’t do anything new. Come on! The Raid is one of the most overrated action films I have seen in my life and this is all because of hype and the inability of people like reviewer on here to admit it was nothing special.

    • Yeah, it’s the inability of so many people to admit that a movie with has an 85% critical and 86% fan rating on Rotten Tomatoes is actually overrated and not that impressive.

      No chance that you’re just a person with the minority opinion on a film in this instance. No chance of that at all.

    • It was overrated and hyped up movie. Watching it is like watching a martial arts lesson… Overblown fight scenes.

  23. can someone who has seen the movie tell me if the picture looks like the 1st raid? the 1st raid had a very dark picture ,even on blu ray, assuming thats the route Evans went with since its being filmed in a building, but does the raid 2 have more of an original look, bringing out the colors or is it more closer to the black and white picutre like the raid?

  24. First of all, Great review Kofi :)

    For me, The Raid 2 delivers. With increased budget, this movie surpass The Raid Redemption in so many ways. It is relieving to watch a sequel which better than it’s predecessor. But sadly, here are some issues that discomfort me:

    (-)Dialogue : As an Indonesian, I found that some dialogue used in this movie is awkward, it just awkward, Indonesians don’t converse like that.
    (-)Lost in translation : Ever wonder why The Raid Redemption has so many F-words in the dialogue? It is simply because they were mistranslated for something else. As for The Raid 2, when I watched the trailers, there are so many conversation that was mistranslated. This makes me 100% sure that The Raid 2 will be mistranslated (or misinterpreted) as well. (speaking of translation, you typed “berandal” wrong at the 4th paragraph, Kofi)
    (-)Prakoso : With all due respect, Prakoso actually had no impact with the movie plot at all. He ended up stretching the movie duration.
    (-)Say, we got a foreigner mafia boss that managed to held half part of the city for more than 10 years, yet he still need a translator to converse. How does that sound to you?

    Nevertheless, those issues were nothing compared to what I experienced in the theater. To me, The Raid 2 is a solid 8/10.

    • I disagree with the complaints here. Not to say that the movie is perfect (it clearly is not), but the complaints mentioned here are inaccurate:

      + I’m also Indonesian, and the dialogue is definitely not awkward by any means whatsoever. A lot of Indonesians, myself included, converse like that. If you have any specifics, do mention them to elaborate what you exactly meant.

      + When translating from Indonesian to English, there are a lot of words that can’t be literally translated word per word due to the difference in context as well as the structure of the sentence. I watched Raid 2 with the English subtitle, and there was no obvious misinterpretation/mistranslation that would affect the meaning of the dialogue. While not 100% accurate word-per-word, the translation is by no means lost.

      + (SPOILERS) Prakoso’s role is mainly just being another badass in the movie. However, there’s a lot more subtlety regarding his role if you look deeper. His death is an important part of the plot because he’s a crucial part of the Bangun’s faction. It was meant to be the catalyst of the Bangun vs Goto all out war as planned by Bejo/Uco that unfortunately didn’t happen due to Bangun’s excellent skill at diplomacy. Prakoso’s death was also some sort of “pass the baton” moment considering that Prakoso was supposed to be the #1 badass/assassin, that title was passed to the properly-named “The Assassin” while at the same time building up The Assassin’s character as the #1 opponent final-boss-fight for Rama.

      + I’m not quite sure what the exact complaint here. Goto (the boss) did not necessarily converse with Indonesians when dealing with his everyday life. His main people surrounding him are Japanese, so he has little use of learning Indonesian language.

  25. I stopped when I read “action porn”. I haven’t seen this one yet but for sure it would be just the same as the first one 20% – storyline then 80% – brutality and gore because that’s what most viewers want full carnage.

  26. X-Force the movie should be directed by this guy, not Wadlow!!!

    Man they should grab evans like a hot potato.

    Are you listening Fox?!?

    • Forget that, Fox should hire him to direct Gambit AND X-Force!

      Hell, the second I saw that trailer I was like shoot man!! Iron man eat yo’ heart out!

  27. who cares about all the nitpicky details that you could dissect. I didn’t give a flying f— about there being some drawn out scenes or whatever. I thought the movie was excellent because new flash: I see action movies for the action. this movie more than delivered.

    • Best action movie in ten years…

  28. I loved it. Can understand why ppl don’t, they want more of the first. This however is a more complete movie. I can disregard majority of plot holes cause most Hollywood movies have bigger holes and are ‘mass marketed’. Only problem with this is Mad Dog being in it. No way to explain him surviving his injuries from TRR.

    • That wasn’t Mad Dog it was the same actor playing a different character in this movie. With his skills/ability its completely understandable that he was involved in this one.

      Film is a masterclass of action and choreography. Cinema i was in was going nuts start to to finish.

  29. I have to agree with about 85 – %90 of this review.

    Just saw it. The movie starts off right but by them trying to flesh outthis whole crime syndicate thing, they ruined the simplistic yet compelling nature of the first.

    The problem is the middle. Too many layers that never connect in a compelling way story wise – and too many fight scenes with Quentin Tarantino esque gore that cheapen the whole effect. This is Muay Thai fighting. No need to have 60 pints of blood squirting out because you got hit with a baseball, the style speaks for itself…

    With that said the last 30 minutes of action put it back on pace. Had they cut a lot of fat out of the middle, it could have been up there with the first if not better.

    Still definitely worth seeing. Just not as good as the first because of the bloated middle.

    • All the criticisms of this film are the same. If anything this one far surpasses the first as people are actually fighting for a reason or a purpose with actual motivations. With far more interesting characters. Both films are masterpieces in there own way. Was the director meant to film the same exact film again with different characters? No. he wanted to expand on the universe and use his budget to be able to spread out this time.

      The story is only complex because people are comparing it to the first which was basically just survive and get too the top floor. I actually commend the director because he actually tried to create a coherent story when he didn’t have to and could have just put the fights in. It shows he cares enough about his own material to try and have a story.

      How can you say nothing connects, granted it takes a while to get there but every thread is tied up except the ending.

      Raid 1 and 2 are very different in the same way that Alien was different from Aliens and T1 was different to T2.