+++ Opinion +++
I remember the first time I saw The Raid 2. It was shown in the midnight section of the Crossing Europe Film Festival in Linz – and having already seen five films that day, I could hardly keep my eyes open. But that changed abruptly as soon as leading actor Iko Uwais let his fists fly. Suddenly, more awake than ever, I was freaking out with the martial arts enthusiasts in the audience, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: no less than one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen on screen.
Since then, the “The Raid” sequel has ended up in my Blu-ray player even more often than its predecessor, which is also worth seeing. And every time I catch myself immersing myself in the story from the beginning, being carried away by every single action scene again and again – and at some point in the middle of the film I remember what else is going to happen. Hardly a sighting of this two-and-a-half-hour, action-packed monster of a movie goes by that doesn’t make me say, “Oh, right. This action scene is still to come!” goes through my head. A wonderful feeling and a must for every action and gangster film fan!
“The Raid 2” is currently (like its predecessor) in the Prime Video Channel super fresh included, which you can test for seven days free of charge and without any commitment if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.
›› “The Raid 2” at superfresh on Amazon Prime Video*
›› Also worth seeing: “The Raid” superfresh on Amazon Prime Video*
Also at super fresh Incidentally, many other martial arts hits are also available, such as “Ip Man 3” (with Donnie Yen), “Kickboxer: The Retribution” (with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dave Bautista) or the fun buddy actioner “Big Game (with Samuel L. Jackson as President of the United States)!
By the way: Watching the first “The Raid” before part 2 makes sense, if only because it’s damn good. But you don’t necessarily have to have seen it to be able to follow the sequel.
After police officer Rama (Iko Uwais) shot and beat his way through a whole skyscraper full of gangsters in part 1, his next, no less delicate mission now follows: he is to provoke his imprisonment in order to gain the trust of the underworld scion Uco (Arifin Putra) to sneak. So he should get access to the powerful syndicate of his father Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo).
Instead of just a few months, however, Rama spends years in prison, where he has to prove what he’s made of every day, separated from his wife and child. But all of this pays off: After his release, he quickly becomes part of the organization, slowly even becoming Bangun’s right-hand man – and every day is determined by the fear of being found out…
While “The Raid” was still an entertaining, straight-forward action hit, director Gareth Evans upped the ante on practically every level with “The Raid 2”. The sequel is almost an hour longer, bows to Hong Kong classics like “Hard Boiled” or “Infernal Affairs” with a classic undercover cop plot – and tops it all off with incredibly brutal and varied action scenes.
While Iko Uwais’ talent in Hollywood films like “Star Wars VII” or “Mile 22” is downright wasted, director Evans knows better than anyone how to use the Indonesian martial arts superstar. It’s even enough to simply place him in front of a wall, as at the beginning of the film, which he smashes to a pulp.
But that start is almost leisurely compared to what follows: With five or six bone-crushing sequences, “The Raid 2” keeps increasing towards the end, before it finally comes to the gigantic finale divided into three (!) action scenes. At the latest, the very last, never-ending duel takes you so far that you could almost think you just let your fists fly yourself. Anyway, I’m so out of breath afterwards (although I was just sitting lazily in front of the telly) that I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up with sore muscles the next morning…
It doesn’t matter how often you watch “The Raid 2”: The film loses none of its appeal, flies by despite its ample running time of two and a half hours and even after almost ten years it still offers several highlights, 90 percent of which are of action films would be lucky if they had at least one to offer.
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