The Raid 2 (2014)
Rare is the movie that I feel I don’t even need to go into great detail rather than just scream, in a fashion suiting madness, “See this! See it!” Such is the case for The Raid 2, the sequel to the 2012 Indonesian action film that melted faces with its inventive and brutal action. The original movie had a confined location, a gang-run tenement building, and a simple premise of reaching the top and nabbing the bad guy. When people weren’t punching or shooting each other, the original Raid lagged, but director/writer Gareth Evans has solved the problem with his action-packed sequel. The world expands greatly, establishing the uneasy peace kept by powerful and warring criminal organizations. The plot ends up becoming something akin to The Departed meets A Prophet, following our hero cop from the first movie now placed undercover to gain the trust of the criminal overlords and work his way up the food chain. When the action isn’t cooking, you’re still engaged with the story and the suspense simmers in clever ways. But getting back to the film’s calling card, the action sequences are impeccably choreographed and edited, have a wide variety of locations for fun, and are bloody intoxicating. This is a movie soaked in adrenaline, and the action sequences will be hard to beat for the rest of the year. Evans finds ways to provide flair for his supporting characters, including a family duo that involves a deaf woman whose weapon of choice is hammers and a guy who prefers a baseball and a bat. The Raid 2 fires on all cylinders so well, so brilliantly filmed, that it puts just about every American action thriller to shame. It doesn’t need to be as long as it is (pushing two and a half hours), and it takes a little while to set up the players, but this is even more of an entertaining rush than the original, because now we get a sense of what Evans and his team can do with fewer restrictions. When Evans gets to Hollywood, and he will, just make sure you give him all the money to do whatever he wants.
Nate’s Grade: A-