Film – The Raid 2

Year of release – 2014

Country – Indonesia

Stars – Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Julie Estelle, Arifin Putra

Dir- Gareth Evans

Howdy amigos!

It’s time to dust off your fight gear, because Martial Arts Movie Madness is back! For this recommendation I wanted to pick something that was fairly recent and easy for you to obtain and this absolute cracker of an action flick ticks all those boxes and plenty more.

Rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais), fresh from surviving the slaughter of The Raid, is drafted into a secretive anti-corruption police squad charged with cleaning up Jakarta’s mean streets. Rama goes undercover to flush out cops on the take, but is confronted by a criminal organisation that is more vicious and powerful then the last. With a violent turf war brewing between rival factions, Rama must keep his wits about him and his hands and fists flying to survive, as he struggles to put an end to the crime syndicate once and for all.

Now dear reader, I know what you are thinking right now, “Why oh why have you not just recommended ‘The Raid’?”. Well, obviously I think ‘The Raid’ is an amazing martial arts movie. It has arguably had the bigger impact of the two films (try telling me that ‘Dredd’ is not a de facto US remake of ‘The Raid’, but you’re only lying to yourself) and is certainly the one that captures the movie going zeitgeist. But, out of the two movies , I think that ‘The Raid 2’ is the far more accomplished and as wannabe crime lord Bejo (Alex Abbad)  perfectly surmises,”It’s a question of ambition..”

Writer, Director & Editor Gareth Evans approaches his stunning sequel with a visceral, visual flair that packs and far heftier punch than its predecessor. By expanding upon the plot rather than simply rehashing the 1st movie, he has pushed the boundaries for what can be achieved on a small budget ($4.5million) and brought some thrilling performances from his actors.  Some critics didn’t enjoy the gang warfare subplot, but if you are a fan of crime thrillers, this shouldn’t bother you. If anything, it serves as a breather in between some of the most breathtakingly brutal fight scenes ever captured on film. Take for example the chaotic prison yard brawl that is staged in the what is essentially a mud pit. You can only marvel at how Yayan Ruhian and the fight choreography team managed to stage anything remotely close to a coherent fight scene in those conditions:

But it’s not just the choreography that stands out in this scene, it’s the dramatic tension conveyed by every single actor and extra, the brutally of the life and death struggle that the situation would demand, all of it superbly staged and captured on film. This is just one of many outstanding action scenes that the film puts together.

The cast are all fantastic in their roles; Uwais is a gripping leading actor, who conveys the torment of his role with genuine depth, the previously mentioned Abbad is very creepy as the ruthless upstart Bejo, and Arifin Putra is fantastically despicable as the greedy son of a mob boss, who has no desire to wait for his turn on the throne. On top of these, you then have Julie Estelle as the silent killer known as ‘Hammer Girl’ on the internet. Wondering why she’s called that? wonder no more..

It seem like i’m spoiling the movie for you by including this clips, but trust me, you aint seen the half of it! There’s also one of the best car chase sequences that I can remember and a thrilling final showdown that is as creative in it’s chaos as any other movie you are likely to see.

This is just about the perfect Friday night after work ass kicker movie that you need in your life. But it’s also so much more than that, it’s an effective crime drama, a tense revenge thriller, and a movie so beautifully shot by cinematographers Matt Flannery & Dimas Imam Subhono that you will marvel at bloodletting and bone breaking like never before.

‘The Raid 2’ is available from Amazon and at £3.99 at the time of writing, it’s a bloody bargain!

Right, thats all for Martial Arts Movie Madness this week, be back with more soon.

Jason P.