32) The Raid 2: Berandal [9.5]

He thought it was over. After fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen – a fight that left the bodies of police and gangsters alike piled in the halls – rookie Jakarta cop Rama thought it was done and he could resume a normal life. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Formidable though they may have been, Rama’s opponents in that fateful building were nothing more than small fish swimming in a pond much larger than he ever dreamed possible. And his triumph over the small fry has attracted the attention of the predators farther up the food chain. (2014)

I was fortunate enough to attend an advance screening for The Raid 2: Berandal, and also a Q&A with the director and stars afterwards. I have so much to say about the film, but I feel as if my friend Derek Jimenez did a fantastic job of summing things up:

Think about the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

Whatever it is, really focus on it.

Let the memory wash over you, take you back to that moment where that giddy tightness floating around in your belly rushed up to your heart & tripled it’s pace, rendering you speechless, senseless, & generally unable to function. The thing that finally connected the abstract concept of elation to the physical experience of it.

Do you remember? Has the feeling been reinvigorated? Is it coursing violently through your veins like wildfire? Are you living it again right this second, experiencing all of the things that simply can not be conveyed to another human being because the happiness is so all consuming and omnipotent that you couldn’t possibly do it justice by explaining it with words!?!?

Good.

Because The Raid 2 is the martial arts action film translation of that – bottled up & sprayed out in an extravagant balls to the wall frenetically bad ass brutal as fuck adrenaline fest that will make you remember what it’s like to be the happiest person on the face of this planet.

So Kung fu your ass down to the nearest cinema & prepare to have your face bashed in & your mind boggled by the sheer audacity of a film that grips the shit out of you and doesn’t let go for all 148 impossibly short minutes of run time, and seems far too good to be true.

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1 comment
  1. Jonathan Joyce said:

    I wanted to like this movie so much more. I really did.

    The action scenes were intense, they were brutal. The cinematography had me hard during so many scenes.
    I was shrieking in the theater.

    But it still suffered. (I think I may just be spoiled by The Man from Nowhere. I’ll spare you a rant on why that movie is a masterpiece.) They spend time building up characters to be so incredibly badass and dangerous. Then when they meet with the protagonist they’re suddenly flailing weapons over his head and swinging like they’ve momentarily lost vision. All of that awesome is out the window. You don’t need to script a drawn out fight scene if it’s going to take away from your characters. I understand how in love he was with the choreography. It’s for that same reason that he should of re-evaluated some of those scenes.

    The brutality had me erect. And then my boner was confused. I was a little drunk and screaming, “Hey, you’re dead. StAAAHHP!” at one particular fight. Where earlier a quick blow to head took our hero out. Suddenly he’s the juggernaut, bitch. Fighting a dude who apparently doesn’t have to worry about severed muscles impairing his movement. Also, he may have had a dozen extra pints of blood more than the average man.

    I’d put this at more of an 8. While it’s got some really impressive choreography and signature moments, eventually you’re just beating off on a dead horse. As they say. He had a great opportunity to raise the bar higher as far as the story was concerned. There was so much to pull from regarding his family and the whole issue of who to trust. It was a perfectly good vehicle to ride between fight scenes that he just left in the garage.

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