Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra
Director: Gareth Evans
Running Time: 150 mins
The Raid 2: Berandal is an Indonesian film and the sequel to The Raid: Redemption. Shortly after the first raid, Rama is recruited by a secret organisation to go undercover in the thug world, to expose a devastating web of police corruption that is turning the city into a crime lord’s plaything.
Well, there’s no doubt that this is an improvement on the first film. In fact, a lot of the things that I thought needed to happen to make the first one better in my review actually did turn up in this film. It’s got a significantly better story, there are more landscapes and more colours, so it’s more fun to look at, and some of the action scenes really are outstanding. However, I still wasn’t thrilled by this film, due to the majority of the action going on for far longer than the first film, and the slower parts of the film being so few and far between that it just felt awkward.
Anyway, let’s start again with how amazing the directing and shooting of the action scenes is here. Even more so than the first film, when they begin, the action really catches your eye, and for a minute or so, they’re absolutely enthralling to watch.
What’s more is that some of the action scenes are genuinely outstanding here. Whilst I felt that everything just blended into one in the first film, and therefore couldn’t be particularly impressed by any particular action scenes, this film has some of the most epic fighting I’ve ever seen. There are two absolutely awesome villains, who really do terrify you in their fight scenes, whilst the main character, Rama, is a whole lot more lethal, and can cause a lot more destruction.
Away from that, I was delighted to see that this film has actually got a half-decent story. Rather than just being a full-blown action film, this is actually a gangster film, where you finally get to see how high the stakes are for the characters, making the action a lot more tense and more exciting.
Finally on the positive side, the thing that pleased me most was the inclusion of loads of different landscapes. Of course, on a smaller budget, the first film was quite restricted, but the fact that we don’t only see fighting in a run-down block of flats, but here, we see action in the countryside, on a train, on the motorway, in a warehouse etc., so there’s so much more to look at, and, fortunately, the overriding image of this film is not grey like the first, but so much more colourful and appealing to the eye.
However, the main problem with this film is that it just didn’t thrill me again. The main reason for this was the fact that the action scenes, while cool at first, were exhaustively long. I tried hard to be consistently excited by the action, and feel the tension when everything was on the edge, but I just grew bored of the incessant fighting that often didn’t add to the story (and when that happens for two and a half hours…yeah.)
And that story, to be honest, wasn’t the best. Yes, it was a cool gangster story, but it was far too simple to be truly convincing, and often felt like it was forgotten for minutes on end, leaving me uninterested as to what was going on in the awkwardly placed slow scenes.
Overall, this gets a 7.3, because despite being a big improvement on the first film, this still isn’t thrilling or engrossing enough to be that entertaining.