Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
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 (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

Cannes Film Festival 2014: Awards Wrap
By Damon Wise

Sundance London: An Introduction To The 2014 Edition
By Damon Wise

Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
By Damon Wise

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
By Damon Wise

Sundance 2014: First Report
By Damon Wise

Shane Carruth Interview: Upstream Color
By Damon Wise

Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac: First Look
By Damon Wise

The European Film Awards 2013
By Damon Wise

Metro Manila Charity Screenings
By Damon Wise

San Sebastian Film Festival 2013: First Report – Enemy, Le Week-end, Quai D'Orsay and The Railway Man
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
"lights of both competitors alongside its traditional 24/7 series. Here we have the greatest hits of "  lalkala000
Read comment

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Ha ha, buuuurn! I am going to go a step further and say Dredd was a better film."  doug64
Read comment

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"You are a miserable old fart! "  Crazel
Read comment

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Doug64 I totally agreed with you"  Crazel
Read comment

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Am I the only person in the world who doesn't think The Raid is all that great? I realise you have t"  doug64
Read comment

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Great write-up on a movie for which I am incredibly excited. Even more promisingly, this seems to be"  tysmuse
Read comment

Toronto 2013: Starred Up, Belle, The Invisible Woman, Dom Hemingway, The Double
"If being on a par with Terry Gilliam's 'daft' Brazil is the only criticism avowed Gilliam-disliker D"  Garth_Marenghi
Read comment

Venice 2013: Under The Skin
"I'm glad that Glazer's finally back on the big screen. Judging by the review, he"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
"What's really interesting about this film is the trailer gives nothing away but give you the premise"  durelius
Read comment

Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
"Looks majestic. Can't wait to see this particularly if it lives up to the slowly-building hype."  herbertwest1701
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Why I Love Django Unchained
5 comments

Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
5 comments

Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
4 comments

Venice 2013: Under The Skin
1 comments

Toronto 2013: Starred Up, Belle, The Invisible Woman, Dom Hemingway, The Double
1 comments

Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part Two
1 comments

Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part 5
1 comments

Argo: a round table encounter with Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman
1 comments

Cannes 2013: Some Thoughts On The Official Lineup
1 comments

Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
1 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (168)
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
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

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  |  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)