Back in 2012, I went along to The Raid, an Indonesian action movie set during a police raid of a tower block. I described it as “A Good Action Film, But Shallower Than The Flinstones’ Gene Pool”.
Last year on holiday with friends, my brother suggested we watch it, but I shot that suggestion down. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t considering we ended up watching the horrendously bad World War Z instead, but we all learn from our mistakes.
But I don’t want to be the guy who always shoots down my friends’ suggestions of what to watch and then expect them to blindly accept my film choices, and after all, with an Unlimited Card, it was free.
Plus, reviews seem to be extremely favourable.
So I thought I’d give The Raid 2 a go.
Was it better than the first? Time to find out.
The Raid 2 Review: What’s It About?
A rookie cop goes undercover to infiltrate one of the two organised crime gangs running Jakarta. He spends two years in jail and then gets a job high up working for the mob.
And naturally, all sorts of crazy shit goes down.
The Raid 2 Review: Was It Any Good?
My thoughts on the first Raid film apply to this one to an extent.
The fight scenes are extremely violent, and you’ve got to respect the direction and athleticism that goes into them, but I just spent the whole film chuckling at it rather than being enthralled. I mean…they are ridiculous. It’s like watching a fighting game come to life, and I don’t think that’s really a good thing.
The way the fights panned out, with dozens upon dozens of blokes waiting in line to be beaten up by one person, was just stupid. Why wouldn’t lots of people jump the one person together?
Also, how come a deaf woman with hammers can waste a bunch of ninja dudes, and a bloke with a baseball bat can single-handedly take out another bunch of ninja dudes, but together they can’t take out one man?
Like I say; it’s video game stuff. It’s like Double Dragon where the bosses at the end of the first and second levels come back to fight you again before the final boss.
And it must be that the vast majority of these expendable ninja dudes are just poorly trained if none of them can do any damage to one person.
Oh, and there’s no way the main character wouldn’t be dead before the end either. At the very least he’ll drop dead soon after the end credits roll.
Ultimately, all the fights looked that little but too staged and the impact of the violence is numbed after about 10 minutes. Beyond that you just spend the film imagining wrestling crowds chanting “E-C-DUB”, “Holy Shit” and “This Is Awesome“. Similarly, as a fan of wrestling, I was imagining the fighters saying stuff like “Let’s go home” and “I’m sorry, I love you” etc. It was unintentionally hilarious. The only thing that could have made it funnier was if Art Donovan was doing commentary on it.
“Hey Gorilla, that little ninja guy is spry”
“Hey Gorilla, how much does that fella weigh”
…and so on and so-forth.
Where The Raid 2 vastly improves upon the original though is in the plot. Although it gets a little bit confusing as to who hates who and which guys are the rat cops (if that was actually even revealed), it did at least have some level of narrative flow to it, and in actual fact, at a meaty 150 minutes long, it flew by surprisingly fast.
I wasn’t bored, and that’s something that deserves praise.
Should You Go To See The Raid 2?
Fighting enthusiasts will no doubt love The Raid 2. On the way out of the cinema, we were walking behind some excited chaps wearing UFC hoodies (how stereotypical can you can) and they seemed to love it.
Anyone else will get a chuckle out of it, but don’t go in expecting Citizen Kane.