Latest Review – The Raid 2 [Berandal] [Blu-ray] [Entertainment One]

The Raid 2 [The Raid 2: Berandal]

Director: Gareth Evans

Studio: PT. Merantau Films | XYZ Films

Distributor: Entertainment One

Year: 2014

Country: Indonesia

Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller

Running Time: 144 minutes (2:24:04)

Region Code: Region B [Locked]

Certificate: 18

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Original Aspect Ratio)

Video: 1080p High Definition (24fps)

Codec: MPEG-4 | AVC

Image: Colour

Audio: Indonesian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1  [Main Feature] | English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [Main Feature] | English Dolby Digital 2.0 [Commentary Track]

Language: Indonesian | Japanese | English

Subtitles: Optional English SDH

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The third collaboration between Welsh filmmaker, Gareth Evans, Indonesian actor, stuntman, fight choreographer, and martial artist, Iko Uwais and producer Ario Sagantoro, following 2009’s ‘Merantau’ and 2011’s internationally acclaimed ‘The Raid: Redemption’, ‘The Raid 2′ further develops the themes and general tones established in their preceding works, raising its cinematic aspirations considerably, but though it dips it toe into high-octane, five-star film waters early on, it mostly never quite unlocks its full potential, never meeting the level of expectation set by the undeniable quality of the first film.

Set around two hours after the events of The Raid, the film now sees SWAT member Rama (Iko Uwais) going undercover with the gangs of Jakarta’s criminal underworld in an attempt to bring down the syndicate and uncover police corruption within the force.

Whereas The Raid: Redemption was an all out action film, exhilarating throughout with its expert combination of balletic physical combat and traditional Indonesian martial arts, The Raid 2 eschews the pure action genre, instead broadening its scope and making a move towards multi-layered epic crime territory; a move which is unfortunately not always for the best.

Extending the duration of the first film by around fifty minutes, The Raid 2 certainly delivers its fair share of violence, intensity and meticulously choreographed sequences, striving throughout to expand the general ambitions of the prequel. Whilst this will undoubtedly delight fans of the genre, the film unfortunately finds itself falling slightly flat on more than one occasion, treading through cliches and ultimately feeling a little too bloated to effectively fill the two hour and twenty-five minute running time.

Many reviews have already acclaimed the film as one of the greatest action movies ever made, if not the greatest, but although there are some extraordinary action set pieces, perhaps most notably the outstanding and lengthy mud-soaked prison yard riot fairly early on in the film, I feel there are just too many moments where the momentum falls flat for the film to be elevated to such status. It is a one hundred and forty four minute film which it has to be said does begin to feel its length.

I admire the fact that the fight scenes are not merely incorporated just for the sake of it, and are genuinely used to develop the narrative and drive the plot along, however once the fights are over, the energy and raw power that Uwais and Yayan Ruhian’s astonishing choreography generates is soon diminished and we are left craving the next fight scene, with the proceeding dialogue sequences and scenes of corruption never quite matching the absorbing quality of the former. Sadly the potential to really explore and uncover the themes of police corruption, state control and gang warfare, which the film initially hints at, is never realised as much as it should be.

Uwais delivers another strong performance in the central role of Rama, and the film does introduce a host of exciting and rather eclectic new characters, with noteworthy performances from Arifin Putra’s gangster Uko, Tio Pakusadewo’s mob boss, Bangun, Oka Antara’s consigliere, Eka, Julie Estelle’s ‘Hammer Girl’ and Very Tri Yulisman’s unflinching ‘Baseball Bat Man’.

Shot predominantly on RED Scarlet cameras, with Epic cameras used for slow-motion sequences and Go Pro 3 cameras used for quick cuts during the car chases, the cinematography from Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono is superb, and once again the team of Fajar Yuskemal, Aria Prayogi and Joseph Trapanese are on top form with their suitably pulsating, electronic score.

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Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Director Gareth Evans

The Next Chapter: Shooting A Sequel – Behind the Scenes Featurette (0:10:21)

Ready for a Fight: On Location (0:12:59)

Deleted Scene – Gang War (0:10:21)

Cinefamily Foundation Q&A with Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais & Joe Trapanese (0:44:09)

Violent Ballet: Behind the Choreography (0:19:03)

UK Exclusive Q&A with Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian [On Blu-ray only]

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Release Date: 11 August, 2014

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