The Raid 2: Elegance and Explosive Violence!


The Raid 2 finds rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) back undercover, but the plot twists and turns are almost an afterthought – something to hang a series of extended action sequences on. Writer/director/editor Gareth Evans provides all the gritty, nasty action you could hope for (and more – The Raid 2 is two-and-a-half hours long) with elegant moments of silence and (very) dark humor.

Rama is ordered to get next to Uco (Arifin Putra), the hot-tempered son of crime boss Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo) – who happens to be in prison. After getting himself into the same prison, he saves Uco’s life, but a promised few months behind bars turns into two years. When he gets out, Uco is there to pick him up and take him to his father – who thanks him, has him strip down to be checked for a wire and then gives him a job.

We learn that Bangun’s organization and a Japanese group headed by Mr. Goto (Ken’ichi Endô) have shared the city and had a truce for decades. We also learn that Uco is ambitious – but not yet deemed ready by his father. That leads to his making some unwise choices involving an equally ambitious, but lame punk Bejo (Alex Abbad) who, in turn, seems unhampered by the rules that have been set by Bangun and Goto.

Add in Prakoso (Yayan Ruhian), a contract killer whose daughter won’t let him see his grandson; corrupt cops and betrayals, and Rama’s wife and son, and you have a very fluid situation that leads to all manner of mayhem.


Evans has gone on record as saying that The Raid 2 is not a martial arts movie. Despite a lot of intense fight sequences, he’s not kidding. There are shootouts and a terrific car chase sequence as well as the martial arts stuff, and there are some unique nasties here who are sure to fascinate – particularly Hammer Girl (Julie Estee) and Baseball Bat Man.

There are certain conventions in movies of this sort – one being the climactic duel between the good guy and the nastiest of the bad guys, after first being beaten by them. In The Raid 2, that is Bejo’s number one guy, simply referred to in the credits as The Assassin (Cecep Arif Rahman).

While the action sequences are meticulously choreographed, shot and edited, some of the movie’s most memorable moments are quiet ones – the opening shot of tall grasses blowing in the wind as tiny cars approach a lone figure standing by what has to be an open grave; the slow flow of blood from a dead man’s form against snow.

Evans makes these quieter moments elegant – almost elegiac – a startlingly beautiful counterpoint to the violence. The contrast between these diametrically opposed scenes serve to both give the audience a moment to catch their breath between adrenaline rushes. In the end though, The Raid 2, like its predecessor, is film that exists for the action.

The plot isn’t even tertiary – style and action rule here and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is an exercise in style and motion – action for its own sake. Even the quiet moments just serve to make the impact of that action greater by comparison. Considering that I didn’t even get halfway through my big drink, I’m okay with that.

Final Grade: A

Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics/eOne