The Raid 2 - DVD Review

'Whilst there is definitely some novelty value in assassins such as "Baseball Bat Man" and "Hammer Girl", in the end they feel far too caricatured to truly resonate'.

Whilst The Raid left me reasonably satisfied in the way many other half-decent mindless action flicks have equally managed in the past, the five-star reviews that seemed to follow Gareth Evans' film around everywhere it went at the time of its release puzzled me somewhat. How the writer and director has pulled off the same trick twice, however, with sequel The Raid 2 receiving close to the same level of critical acclaim as the original, leaves me completely flummoxed.

The main criticism levelled at the first film (by those not hailing it as cinematic perfection, of course) was that it sacrificed character depth and plot development in favour of extended, bloody and highly choreographed fight sequences. Evans seems to have gone some way to try and remedy this in the second instalment, but in fact ironically ends up creating the film's greatest shortcomings. After making some smart choices early on - swiftly establishing that The Raid 2 will definitely not follow the same formula as the first film, as well as making clear his intention to expand on the world created in The Raid - Evans soon takes things too far the other way. The director rapidly introduces numerous factions of the Jakarta criminal underworld, making each feel far too similar to the last and never developing any to a satisfying level. The result is an overcomplicated jumble of murky motivations and one-dimensional characterisation which becomes more and more tiresome as the film progresses.

Whilst The Raid had a slew of impressive martial arts and action scenes to prop up its thin plotting and characters, Evans' sequel fails to deliver anything nearly as satisfying. There are memorable scenes here and there, but the combat presented lacks the panache more regularly seen in the first film. Whilst there is definitely some novelty value in assassins such as "Baseball Bat Man" (Very Tri Yulisman) and "Hammer Girl" (Julie Estelle), in the end they feel far too caricatured to truly resonate, with Evans' execution ending up as blunt as his characters' respective weapons of choice.

Whilst The Raid 2 eventually manages to deliver a satisfying window of action during its final act, with Rama (Iko Uwais) finally given the opportunity to flex his martial arts muscle both figuratively and literally during a final battle that is essentially the first film concentrated into twenty minutes, it's far too late to undo the many mistakes Evans has already made. At a self-indulgent 150 minutes, The Raid 2 ultimately comes across as an exercise in arrogance by a director too caught up in his own hype.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment