Complete A-Z list

Raid 2, The/The Raid 2: Berandal


Stars: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, Alex Abbad, Cecep Arif Rahman, Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, Kazuki Kitamura, Yayan Ruhian, Cok Simbara

Director: Gareth Evans

More often than not, subtitled movies are hailed as art movies and therefore likely to appeal to cineastes (wannabes and the real thing).

There are, of course, some foreign films that do not fit into this definition (what, for instance is one to make of Pioneer whose English dialogue is subtitled as well as the predominant Norwegian dialogue?).

What then should one make of this standout sequel?

The dialogue is predominantly Indonesian, along with Japanese, Arabic and a few lines in English, which means that subtitles are de rigueur.

That said, while I believe the film proves writer/director Gareth Evans is a genuine auteur and his blend of extraordinary martial arts action, suspense and crime thriller is uniquely cinematic, The Raid 2 also succeeds strongly in terms of popular – rather than art movie – entertainment.

Having survived the mayhem of the first film, perfectly cast rookie cop Iko Uwais has to leave his family and go undercover again, this time in prison, bond with Arafin Putra (excellent), the son of Jakarta's biggest crime boss, in order to bring down the rival gangsters controlling the city and to expose the corrupt cops and venal politicians on their payrolls…

The storyline is strong and compelling and serves as a superb framework on which Evans stages some of the most amazing martial arts mayhem ever filmed. Uwais explodes into bone-breaking action in prison in order to establish his criminal personality, the one-of-a-kind battle in a muddy prison courtyard is alone worth the price of admission and other action pleasures include a superbly staged combination car chase/martial arts/shootout and, notably, a climactic duel to the death in a restaurant kitchen.

Unfamiliar faces add credibility and impact, especially Julie Estelle wreaking bloody chaos using both ends of her two claw hammers as weapons, and oddball assassin Very Tri Yulisman whose chosen weapons of murder are a baseball bat and ball.

Evans’ skill is such that seeing his film again delivered an even more stirring adrenaline surge than the first time. My guess is that only the Indonesian Tourist Board would be unlikely to rate The Raid 2 as a genre winner.

Alan Frank

Indonesia/USA 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour.
150 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Apr 2014