It’s easy to forget what the action genre stood for before Michael Bay started slow motion capturing the life out of them. There have of course been gems unearthed but not much has cut the mustard for fans of unashamed carnage. Which is why The Raid 2: Barandal, to give it its full title (standing for “thug” in English), packs the almightiest of punches. Pun intended.

The Raid 2 Film Review

This is seriously special. And more importantly – stupidly fun. And not the forced fun of anfancy dress party at your Aunts 40th. It’s the fun of an impromptu night out that starts in Hirwaun High Street, Wales (where our director grew up) and somehow ends with drinking champagne under the Eiffel Tower. This is easily going to be the best action/martial arts film of the year.

The film begins approximately 2 hours after Gareth Evan’s first installment finishes. Rama (Iko Uwais), a local police agent, has just defeated a hundred-plus baddies in an apartment block. He isn’t interested in a shower or dinner and he barely has time for the toilet. We find our superhuman hero infiltrating the ranks of a brutal crime syndicate in the dank and dreary world of Jakarta, Indonesia. Of course his quest is all in the name of family and honour. But it’s hard to believe he didn’t think of the blood. Lots and lots of blood.

The choreography beats anything you will see at Blackpool Tower. The film’s real triumph is that the set pieces never ever become tiresome and you never become anaesthetised to the violence. The creativity and invention on show is mind blowing. It’s not only the fights themselves that thrill. This could very aptly be considered Art House. It’s as beautiful as the set is filthy.

It should be said that while the plot is far more complex and rounded than the first film, there is nothing new here. Comparisons to The Godfather and particularly Infernal Affairs are not undeserved, however. But there is so much about this film that is iconic. Every fight scene has something special. You’re treated to a 1 on 30 in a toilet cubicle, a car chase as good as anything in the Bourne series and a boy/girl villain duo who choose hammers and baseballs as their calling cards (seriously).

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It’s easy to be so complimentary to an independent film that dares to be so bold. It’s also so very easy to forget the budget for the spectacle was a mere $4.5million. Yes, the budget has quadrupled from The Raid. But to put it into perspective, Dredd (a film which greatly resembles the first movie) had ten times that budget. This is a truly remarkable piece of work.

Gareth Evan wrote, edited and directed the film. He is surely going on to huge things. This is the best Indonesian action/martial arts film directed by a Welshman you will ever see. It gives too much. But too much is exactly enough. It’s the best action/martial arts film you’re likely to see in a very very long time, if not ever. Please – go see this.

THE RAID 2 Film Review: 5 Stars

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