Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look

Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2014, 14:52 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look

How do you follow an action film as tight and tense and damn near perfect as The Raid? The answer, it seems, is to make a film as broad, intricate and damn near perfect as The Raid: Berandal, aka The Raid 2. Obviously the first point to consider is whether Gareth Huw Evans’s second feature matches up to the bone-crunching mayhem of the first, and it does – with gore to spare. But the second point is more crucial: does it hold up as a stand-alone movie in its own right? The answer to that is a resounding yes too; leaving behind the Carpenter-esque confined spaces of the original, Evans’s sequel heads out into the streets of Jakarta, bringing in so many new and fascinating characters that it’s hardly noticeable when the film’s nominal hero Rama, played by a much more confident Iko Uwais, is absent from the screen (which he is for surprisingly long patches).

The first few moments suggest that the film might be hard work, since it carries on almost immediately in the wake of its predecessor. Some familiarity with the first is necessary here to figure out what’s going on, but a whole new plot soon emerges. Recruited by internal affairs, Rama is given a new identity and sent to prison, where he is ordered to infiltrate the world of inmate Uco, son of gang lord Bangun. Rama’s mission is to root out the corrupt cops who are keeping the Bangun gang in business, but it soon becomes clear that Uco is a loose cannon, intent on deposing his father and declaring war on their Japanese rivals. Unable to risk blowing his cover, for fear of putting his wife and child at risk, Rama finds himself caught in the middle of an impending turf war.

With a running time of 148 minutes The Raid 2 seems an unlikely epic, and yet it never overextends itself. Editing the movie himself, Evans keeps a tight rein on all his various strands, and the film is at its best when juggling several characters, notably towards the last quarter when tensions between the rival factions begin to escalate. But this would be nothing if there were no characters to invest in, and Evans has populated his murky world with a whole spectrum of heroes and scumbags, from the virtuous Rama to the Machiavellian crime boss Bejo with his hammer and baseball bat-wielding protégées. Add to this some extraordinary locations – all of which lend themselves organically to the choreography of the fight scenes – you have that rarest of things: an action movie with real and present danger, not the Punch and Judy show of the average CG blockbuster.

The wince-inducing sound mix does quite a lot of the work, but The Raid 2 is strong meat nevertheless, and this Sundance cut is certainly going to cause a few problems with the ratings boards both in the US and the UK. Fortunately, there’s more than just blood and guts to this spectacularly visceral film, and it’s to Evans’s credit that he has made a turf-war thriller that stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of Asian crime stories, from Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage films to practically everything from South Korea. The Sundance audience gave it a standing ovation and it deserved it. Now bring on Part Three.

Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 tysmuse
Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2014, 21:24
Great write-up on a movie for which I am incredibly excited. Even more promisingly, this seems to be in line with (I think) all of the 'buzz' that's coming out of Sundance about The Raid 2.

2 doug64
Posted on Friday February 28, 2014, 19:42
Am I the only person in the world who doesn't think The Raid is all that great? I realise you have to find dark corners to whisper it in around these parts but I am saying it anyway!! Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination and I am looking forward to the second one. Maybe it is just a case of everyone hyped it up or maybe because I am a miserable old fart.

3 Crazel
Posted on Tuesday March 4, 2014, 21:20
Doug64 I totally agreed with you

4 Crazel
Posted on Tuesday March 4, 2014, 21:21
You are a miserable old fart!

5 doug64
Posted on Saturday March 8, 2014, 22:47
Ha ha, buuuurn!
I am going to go a step further and say Dredd was a better film.

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (439)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game Preview
By Ali Plumb

The Return Of Max Payne
By Ali Plumb

Empire's Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Survival Guide
By Ali Plumb

In Search Of The Ultimate Xbox Controller
By James Dyer

Hands on with El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
By Ali Plumb

Japanese gaming hero Suda 51 on his latest, Shadows Of The Damned
By Ali Plumb

Hands On: Razer Onza
By James Dyer

Empire Sits Down With The Portal 2 Writers, Gets Worryingly Excited
By Ali Plumb

Movie Karaoke, Anyone? Yoostar 2 Can Turn You Into Arnold Schwarzenegger... Kind Of
By Ali Plumb

Have You Seen The Awe-Inspiring Dead Island Trailer Yet?
By Ali Plumb


RECENT COMMENTS

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"It would be hard to make the movie to what fans, such as myself, would expect, which means expectati"  Alixis93
Read comment

E3 2013: David Cage On Beyond: Two Souls
"Very excited about this game. played their previous PS3 game "Heavy Rain" which was unique"  Okester
Read comment

E3 2013: Electronic Arts
""As the event began properly, a bombastic war-themed trailer proved to be a genius parody of th"  Film2012
Read comment

Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game Preview
"I am ridiculously excited by the hope that I may have this game wrapped and with my name on it under"  MD3
Read comment

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"hay look at this these guys are making a Legend of Zelda movie!!! https://www.fac"  link2point0
Read comment

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"My god, I've been planning this of so long. YES it will work. And I plan to get my ideas where they "  Thinking_fanatic
Read comment

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"im 50/50 on it because it has a good storyline but it depends on the game its going to copy or if th"  No_1ups
Read comment

The Return Of Max Payne
"I absolutely love the first two Max Payne games (and recently downloaded the first one - for free - "  Draven Cage
Read comment

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"Maybe write a book first of a really good screen play and see how that goes."  welshcelt
Read comment

Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
"...possibly. I think you would have to split one game up though in to 2 maybe 3 movies to get the fu"  welshcelt
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Have You Seen The Awe-Inspiring Dead Island Trailer Yet?
21 comments

The New Xbox: Slim, Sleek And Silent
7 comments

Red Dead Redemption Goes To The Movies
7 comments

Empire at E3: The Return of Goldeneye
3 comments

Empire at E3: The Nintendo Round-up
2 comments

Empire Sits Down With The Portal 2 Writers, Gets Worryingly Excited
2 comments

In Search Of The Ultimate Xbox Controller
1 comments

Empire's Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Survival Guide
1 comments

The Return Of Max Payne
1 comments

Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game Preview
1 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (167)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)