The Raid 2
Since this was announced, I was curious what approach they were going to take with the film. Now, after seeing it, although I think the ideas were all great, I was just so blind-sided I had no idea what to think. Still think the action was top-notch, I just don't know if I got so used to it that I am somewhat numb to it, but the fights with Rama just didn't seem to have the same impact that they did in the first film.
I'm going to go into quite a bit of spoilers, so don't click unless you want plot spoiled for you.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I wish there weren't so many gosh darn moving parts in this picture, because this could have been split into two films. Although it was an enjoyable action movie, it felt every bit of the ~150 minutes of screentime. And yet, so much happens in the film but it just seems like it was crammed into one film.
For instance, all of Bejo's crew. His henchmen. It was the same instance with the first film, where Tama's boys were pretty interesting; Andi and Mad Dog. Except to me, the henchmen of Bejo were amplified by about a magnitude of ten. Baseball Bat Man, Hammer Girl, and The Assassin. I don't know if I'm just gullible, but they had me on the edge of my seat with glee. The Assassin especially. He's the one guy that Rama went up against where he seemed like a legitimate threat, aside from Mad Dog. I had an easier time believing that The Assassin was more dangerous than Mad Dog though, because of just size and intimidation. The Assassin was menacing to the point where I was unsure of how Rama would pull it out. I could have watched a whole movie about just his crew. Hell, a whole movie just about the interesting subplot of the Indonesian/Japanese war for money/drugs.
There was just so many gaps in the film where it would've been awesome if they could have extrapolated more with the plot. Okay so Andi gets killed at the beginning of the film, but Rama never really gets retribution on Bejo, hell he never even interacts with the man that killed his brother, pretty much the sole purpose of this film. Also, in the first film, you pretty much see the corruption from the police from every angle. But in this film, who exactly are the police and/or politicians that Rama is infiltrating? I know there's the dude Reza that is supposed to be a high-up in the police force, but it's really easily lost in the shuffle of all the moving pieces.
And in the first film at least you know who Rama was trying to help and protect. This entire film, it's some random dude that we see for about five minutes. That's it.
The entire prison set-up was cool, although unexpected. I'm glad they flashed-forward the two years though; that had dragged on long enough, and it got to the point, and executed.
The entire dynamic between Bejo, Uco, Bangun, the Goto family, Reza, etc., all is very interesting and could carry the film on it's own, that's why I just wish they could've split this up. I'm not saying they don't have the possibility for a third film, there's always that chance, but we got to see how corruption was taken down on small scale in the first film. Rama ravages the entire Indonesian/Japanese crime-duo in the span of two hours. That's quite a feat.
Also, I don't know if it was just me, but what a damn throwaway to bring Yayan Ruhian back. I hated that they created this whole new character, pretended like Mad Dog never existed, gave him a cutesy little backstory, and tried to make him fan-friendly all over again. That bugged me quite a bit, especially after seeing his downfall by The Assassin pretty quickly, simply used as a ploy by Bejo/Uco to get the ball rolling.
The action itself, top-notch. Although, I sat there thinking to myself moreso than the first film, "Man, they could easily just use a gun and dispose of __________." In the first film, they handle that issue pretty well. Mad Dog doesn't use guns, they're too sloppy. It's a dirtier, grittier world in that apartment complex. But Bejo and his men all use guns. Same with Uco. You're telling me Uco has the guts to kill his father right in front of his entire new mob family, but they can't kill Rama, and instead take him captive for God knows what reason? Meh. The final action scene between Rama/The Assassin rivals that of Andi and Rama/Mad Dog in the first film. The climax isn't nearly as satisfying to the end of this fight, but it's still pretty damn good, and goes on FOREVER. It was probably my second favorite scene of the film.
That montage though... The one when Uco gives Bejo's crew the okay to randomly thrash dudes of both sides of the family? That was AWESOME. Baseball Bat Man escalating his way up that abandoned building, Hammer Girl taking out those dudes in the train, The Assassin straight murking the guy in the crops, that was an awesome scene.
One thing that was done tremendously well was the cinematography. While the first film was dirty and grimy, this film was pristine and used colors VERY well. I thought The Raid: Redemption was a little too dark at times, and the shooting could have been better. The Raid 2 though? Gorgeous, beginning to end. When the film needed to be dirty and grimy, it got that grimy. But for the most part, vibrant reds, crazy visuals, and brutality around ever corner.
The one thing I missed from the first film was the score. I know it was rescored by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame, and it wasn't the original soundtrack, but it worked so well with the action man. They just were relentless with the action, and the score accompanied that well! I was anticipating the heart-racing score that would keep up with the action, but it never came.
Was it a good sequel? Did it build from the last? Yes and yes. I still enjoyed it, though it wasn't as earth-shattering as the first film. I wish they would've emphasized more on a lot of the plot, but balancing plot and action in a film where so much happens, I can see why they leaned back a little. Action takes up a good chunk of the screentime, which doesn't leave a lot of time for plot.