The Raid 2 [Serbuan maut 2] (2014)
AKA The Raid 2: Berandal, The Raid: Retaliation
Starring Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Julie Estelle, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, Kazuki Kitamura, Cecep Arif Rahman, Cok Simbara, Yayan Ruhian, Very Tri Yulisman
Directed by Gareth Evans
Expectations: Super high. It’s The Raid 2, c’mon now!
Nope, not as good as the first. And I wasn’t even as super head-over-heels about The Raid as everyone else seemed to be. I thought it was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but a re-watch just a few days ago confirmed to me that it’s a film I will always appreciate more than love. This relates directly to how brutal and realistic the choreography is — which is also why the film is so notable and unique — so for me The Raid 2 wasn’t as good as the first because it embraces that brutal, realistic choreography and goes even further. Is that the best logic to judge the film on? No, of course not, but my brain just has a hard time extracting the same gleeful joy from this type of martial arts film compared to something with a lighter tone. While The Raid still felt somewhat connected to the martial arts films that inspired it, the action in The Raid 2 feels different.
Since I love auteur theory, I suppose we can say that if Gareth Evans’ Merantau was a love letter to Hong Kong martial arts films and specifically Jackie Chan’s, The Raid was Evans, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian finding their own stride based on what worked in Merantau. But to me The Raid 2 seems to be built only on the shoulders of The Raid, so your enjoyment of its action will stem directly from how much enjoyment you got out of the brutal, bone-crunching fights in The Raid. Personally, Merantau remains my favorite of their films, but with that said I can’t deny that The Raid 2 — specifically one fight towards the end — sets a new bar for martial arts film battles. The kitchen fight contains some of the most intense, brutal and incredibly choreographed martial arts ever projected onto the silver screen.