Directed by Gareth Evans. 150 mins.
Worth my time? Yes. (Seen at Pacific’s The Grove Stadium 14)
Geez Louise, Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) gets assignments that make John McClane’s adventures look like paid vacations. After the events of The Raid: Redemption, it would have been perfectly reasonable for Rama to think, “That was the worst day that could ever happen to anyone, ever. At least nothing worse can ever happen to me.”
Rama gravely misjudges Gareth Evans’ brutal creativity.
I give props to Evans for crafting a much more complex crime saga than the film’s predecessor. The Raid 2’s tale of gang war over the years is a fresh change from Redemption’s paper-thin premise, but it comes with a cost. The film is nearly an hour longer than Redemption, and the pacing (particularly near the beginning) may be too slow for the target demographic of adrenaline junkies.
I thought that the gambles of switching up the formula paid off. While Rama still gets the most screentime, Evans uses the first act to introduce plenty of characters, all of whom get at least one scene in which to show off their signature kill skills. The action is just as jawdropping and full of twisted humor as Redemption. Almost every fight scene brings something new to the table, a pretty amazing feat considering the runtime.
As long as Evans has passion and an unlimited supply of Indonesian stuntmen, keep sending Raid films my way.
Aside: There’s also this whitebread guitarist, not to be confused with the cool Gareth Evans.
(Seen and written on 2014-03-28)