‘The Raid 2’: Sequel takes kicked-up action into the streets
A three-star movie review of “The Raid 2,” an epic-length assemblage of martial-arts fight scenes that are blazingly paced and unhinged in their intensity.
Special to The Seattle Times
‘The Raid 2,’ with Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra. Written and directed by Gareth Evans. 148 minutes. Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence throughout, sexuality and language. In Indonesian, with English subtitles. Several theaters.
For those of us who believe the prime directive of action pictures is that such movies ought to, by gawd, move , Gareth Evans is our new patron saint.
Evans, a Welshman who works in Indonesia, ascended to that rank with 2011’s “The Raid: Redemption,” an insanely kinetic actioner he wrote and directed in which an outgunned squad of Jakarta cops fight for their lives against an army of heavily armed gangsters holed up in a dark fortresslike apartment building.
For “The Raid 2,” Evans picks up right where “The Raid” left off, with the sole surviving cop, again played by masterful martial artist Iko Uwais, reluctantly agreeing to go deep undercover to infiltrate a gang of vicious criminals.
Evans, this time around, takes the action into the streets and environs of Jakarta. And what action it is: blazingly paced and unhinged in its intensity. There’s a prison-yard riot to end all riots; a mud-bowl brawl with seemingly hundreds of bodies writhing and walloping in the muck and mire; and, above all, a breathtakingly choreographed car chase/fight between Uwais’ cop, Rama, and a bunch of guys who want him dead.
The story is far more complex than “The Raid’s” bare-bones fight-for-survival plot. An uneasy truce between two criminal gangs is imperiled when Uco (Arifin Putra), the ambitious son of one of the gang lords, schemes to take his father’s place. Rama is Uco’s bodyguard and confidant.
Evans’ elaborate narrative gives the picture an epic feel, and it certainly has an epic length at 2½ hours. But whenever it seems to be overstaying its welcome, Evans drops in yet another take-no-prisoners fight scene to quicken audience pulses.
For what it is, “Raid 2” is really something else.
Soren Andersen: email@example.com