Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
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 (440)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
By James White

DreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage
By James White

Golden Globes 2012
By James White

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
By James White

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
By Helen O'Hara

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
By James White

Shutter Island: A Thriller Out Of Time?
By Damon Wise

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
By James White

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
By Helen O'Hara

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Little Favour, Big Impact
"A really good short film. Gripping from the outset, a noir-ish action thriller with an interesting s"  Jaks
Read comment

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
"I received this yesterday with high expectations Now I am an advocate for 3D and a massive "  BigNickUK
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Someone at E! needs to get fired! Their coverage was shocking! Thanks god for Empire showing me the "  guysalisbury
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
""Harvey Weinstein’s nickname apparently being The Punisher. Write your own Thomas Jane jo"  loafroaster
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Have to agree with the previous comments about the coverage by E! Truly inept. Other than that, high"  wgfuzzydunlop1
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Sadly boredbluekoala is spot on with the description of E!'s shockingly incompetent handling of the "  spacemonkey95
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Great, so let's get the Oscars back on the BBC then."  Cameron1975Williams
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"I don't know which broadcast everyone else was watching, but the one shown by 'E' in the UK was shoc"  boredbluekoala
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Either Gervais was told to tone it down this year or he just couldn't come up with anything funny (m"  BenTramer
Read comment

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
"As a younger generation movie lover, i am thrilled by the fact that Titanic is coming back to the bi"  AusteV
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

You Wouldn't Steal A Car...
140 comments

Should Spider-Man Have Gone 3D?
27 comments

Spielberg's Harvey: Why It's A Good Idea
26 comments

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
21 comments

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
18 comments

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
16 comments

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
11 comments

Golden Globes 2012
7 comments

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
3 comments

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The biggest, best, brightest and sometimes weirdest films of the coming year

James Cameron Talks Tech, Terminators and Avatar Sequels
An extended version of our interview from our Peter Jackson guest-edited issue

Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
2014's side-splittingest scenes

The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

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 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month 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  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)