Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: The Raid 2

The Raid 2 | Value for money: $$$$$

  • Directed, written and edited by Gareth Evans.
  • Starring Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Yayan Ruhian.

PHIL vs BILL Longer and bloodier than the original, The Raid 2 sends Jakarta cop Rama (IkoUwais) back undercover to expose corruption and thwart a gang war between Indonesian and Japanese crime syndicates. What ensues is brutal, suspenseful and visually sumptuous, and, despite its excesses, much better than the original. A bigger budget helps but this time the story has as much grunt as the action. Extras include a director’s commentary, a Q&A session with him, star Iko Uwaus and composer Joe Trapanese, deleted footage and making-of shorts on the choreography and how the sequel evolved from the original (which has since spawned not only The Raid 3 but also a Hollywood re-make from Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes).

PHIL vs BILL
Longer and bloodier than the original, The Raid 2 sends Jakarta cop Rama (IkoUwais) back undercover to expose corruption and thwart a gang war between Indonesian and Japanese crime syndicates. What ensues is brutal, suspenseful and visually sumptuous, and, despite its excesses, much better than the original. A bigger budget helps but this time the story has as much grunt as the action. Extras include a director’s commentary, a Q&A session with him, star Iko Uwaus and composer Joe Trapanese, deleted footage and making-of shorts on the choreography and how the sequel evolved from the original (which has since spawned not only The Raid 3 but also a Hollywood re-make from Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes). — Phil Wakefield.

The Raid 2 is the first Bargain Bin Blues flick to get the coveted five dollar signs of super value.

For whatever you shell out for this wherever you find it, you get two and a half hours of unbridled arse-kickery, fights, brutal gang nonsense and beautiful cinematography.

It is how every action flick should be – smart, tightly paced, a crapload of fighting, good guys and bad guys.

Admittedly in this case the only really good guy is Rama (Iko Uwais, a master of the Silat martial arts style) who is the good cop surrounded by bent ones, facing up against rather an excessive number of crime gangs.

It’s kind of complicated, and follows on from The Raid (hence the numeral) two hours after The Raid plotline finished.

Number 2 involves the infiltration of gangs, gang wars and some fairly random bloodbaths. Not so much to turn the stomach, but there’s a tidy bit of blood.

I am pretty sure it all hangs together, but the application of half of a bottle of cheap reviewing Aussie shiraz does nothing to keep the plot receptors firing on all cylinders.

Some sub-plots come and go pretty quickly, the main reason for this being that almost everyone in them struts and frets his hour upon the stage before getting their arse’s handed to them with multiple kicks to the head and groin, macheted, knifed, shotgunned and generally deaded.

The fight sequences are also cleverly done in some confined spaces – the fight inside the moving car was a good use of a small space as a venue for fisty mayhem. But there are lots of these sequences and they all look great.

The Blu-ray specials are good, with a Q and A with Evans (who use to be a Welsh language instructor until his useful move to Indonesia) and actor Iko Uwais. There is a commentary by Evans, and individual pieces about the fight choreography, shooting the sequel and being on location.

During one of them Evans says there are 19 fight scenes in the movie. That might not sound a lot in a two hour and 28 minutes of film time, but they are epic fights. The one in a muddy prison exercise yard just keeps getting bigger – prisoners start fighting prisoners till the prison guards start piling on until it just gets crazy.

Iko Uwais about to use a broom handle with extreme prejudice in the prison exercise yard epic fight mud bath.

Iko Uwais about to use a broom handle with extreme prejudice in the prison exercise yard epic fight mud bath.

The fight scenes are like every good kung fu movie, but faster, tougher, and with a commitment to health and safety that must make being an Indonesian stunt fighter a bruising career path.

Also interesting in the extras was to see how the car chase in downtown Jakarta was handled. They pretty much closed downtown JK for a day and then went mental, but it was the camera usage that was very clever. It was held on the outside for an external of the moving car, passed through the window for the interior sequence and then passed out to another cameraman lying on a rig outside the moving car for a nice one-shot sequence.

Sometimes it veers wildly from gangster violence and martial art duels to outright crazy stuff, like Hammer Girl and her brother Baseball Boy but that just adds to the fun.

Best with three or four friends. Just so you can all go “Urghhhghh” at the same time when some poor bastard’s leg gets broken mid fight. It’s those magical, shared moments which define us as human.

Hammers don’t kill people, Hammer Girl kills people. Julie Estelle does some internal decorating in a train.

Hammers don’t kill people, Hammer Girl kills people. Julie Estelle does some internal decorating in a train.

Bill O’Byrne is a failed practitioner in the art of making movies. He has an imaginary Masters degree in being able to sit goggle-eyed and stare at TVs for hours on end. He is previously the official astrologer for the New Zealand Army and once made a complete cock of himself in front of Douglas Adams in Palmerston North. He has assorted nonsense here: kiwispacepatrol.wordpress.com.
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3 Responses to “Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: The Raid 2”

  1. So just to show how much action is in Raid 2 … this whole gang-on-gang gun slaughter fest was cut completely.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs_Qhmiz40E

  2. The Raid 2 was a reasonably good movie but nowhere near as good as the 1st movie, in my opinion.

  3. M. Fair enough. I thought 2 was a bit more epic but 1 is certainly tauter.
    B. PS: For anyone interested there is a medium res English dub version here …
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxZhnbjOCu0

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