Director Gareth Evans' The Raid 2: Berendal has already screened at Sundance, and while the sequel to the 2014 film The Raid: Redemption received praise for the level of technical artistry on display, many reviewers were taken aback by the film's bone-crushing, head-splitting level of violence.
The significant marketing push for the film has not shied away from the wild martial arts action, with several trailers, a ten-minute featurette and director Evans talking about the movie's violence and how the sequel's plot ties in with The Raid 3. Picking up just hours after The Raid, Officer Rama (Iko Uwais) has survived the assault on the slum apartment building fortress of Boss Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and is given a new mission: infiltrate a Jakarta crime syndicate and take down the corrupt forces spreading through the police department.
With the film's release just around the corner, we have another new "Internet trailer," and while the first, plot-free teaser aimed for artful subtlety, this one is an exposition-less throwdown showcasing the eye-popping, city-wide scale of the sequel. Check out the trailer above.
We know by now that Evans' intention has been to raise the action genre to a whole new level. The Raid succeeded via a stripped-down, graphically violent approach featuring innovative cinematography and elements of the "survival horror" genre, resulting in a bold, kinetic action classic. The sequel is clearly upping the ante, with the full-scale city backdrop and a host of new characters - including our new friend Hammer Girl.
The previous international trailer for The Raid 2 gave fans some story to chew on even as it showcased the sequel's upgrade in sheer scale. Only a minority of the reviews out of Sundance were in the negative; the majority of critics - not all of them action genre advocates - turned in uniformly stellar early notices. This reflects what Gareth Evans has retained from the first film to this one: his philosophy that the fight scenes need to be intricately woven into the plot and story arc.
All of which already has many fans casting ahead to The Raid 3. The next chapter will supposedly take place during and after The Raid 2, which begs the question of just how many surprises Evans and company can spring on an audience as they provide more mind-rending action and stunt work (there are nineteen full-scale action sequences in The Raid 2).
The filmmakers and studio (Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film in the states) clearly intend for this new trailer to go viral in advance of the film's U.S. premiere. We'll see if The Raid 2 delivers on the fever-pitch level of anticipation.
The Raid 2: Berendal opens in U.S. theaters on March 28th, 2014.