Sunday, February 2 2014, 02:20 PM MST
Sundance 2014: The Raid 2
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad
Recommended To: Anyone looking for the best (and often most brutal) action sequences that you’ll find in any cinema.
Synopsis: Officer Rama goes undercover to get close to Bangun, a powerful mob boss.
Review: Just before the film began I turned to the older couple sitting next to me and asked, “You know what you’re getting yourself into, right?” As if I had a clue as to what I was about to witness.
The Raid 2 (AKA The Raid: Berandal) is The Raid without the confines of a high-rise building. This allows writer/director Gareth Evans to take the organized chaos to a whole new level as he introduces car chases, street fights, mud-soaked prison riots and subway brawls into the mix. These various action pieces are tied together by a fairly dense story that features the traditional genre tropes of corruption, greed and betrayal, but these familiar elements never feel tired as the constant barrage of over-the-top fight sequences will keep you from thinking you’ve seen this story told before. Because you’ve never seen it told quite like this.
Evans could be accused of being excessive and his use of violence will leave some feeling queasy, but it’s also electrifying as the brilliant choreography is matched by the director’s inventive ways of filming seemingly impossible scenes without the use of CGI. If Gravity is a technological masterpiece then The Raid 2 is equally as impressive in its use of practical effects and filming techniques.
-Ryan Michael Painter