[Header: Iko Uwais as Rama | Sony Pictures Classics]
“No… I’m done.”
This post contains potential spoilers for the first movie!
There was a moment after I finished The Raid where I wasn’t sure if I was immediately going to go straight into the sequel — mostly because it’s almost an hour longer (giving both movies a combined run time of 4 hours and 10 minutes) — but in the end, I was just too intrigued to see where the story went and I’m really glad I didn’t put it off.
Taking place several hours after the first movie, The Raid 2 continues to follow Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover, joining a powerful crime syndicate in order to expose corrupt members of his force.
Similarly to its predecessor, The Raid 2 is an intense watch with even more going on this time around. While this one would certainly not exist without the first movie, I have to admit that The Raid 2 is my favourite. While there were some standout moments and things from The Raid that I loved, it definitely felt like I got more out of the sequel. If you’re reading this review, you’ve most likely seen the first movie, so you’ve probably got at least some idea of what you’re getting yourself into. However, that being said, there are some significant changes this time around.
To start with, the story is much bigger. There are more layers to it that all take place across different locations but the structure and the pacing are just as pleasant to watch. Similarly to the first one, there is a lot of martial arts with some wonderful fight choreography. All of these things work together to make a movie that is constantly moving forward and is incredibly entertaining to watch. Especially when there is, once again, a lot of violence that is detailed in both a visual and audio sense. While things aren’t contained to one location this time around, the sheer level of violence is still high. However, there is a little more reprieve in this movie, mostly due to the expansion of the world and the wider storyline.
Again, it doesn’t waste a second. While it does give a chance for the characters (and the audience) to take a breath, any moment of reprieve is also used to feed information that helps to expand the context and knowledge of the wider plot. Not only that, but it means we get to know the characters better and there are some wonderful new additions (including two assassins — a girl who uses hammers as her weapon and a boy who uses a baseball bat). Don’t get me wrong, I had favourites in the first movie but it felt like not only did I know more about the characters in the sequel but I also got the chance to really get to care about them and/or to become more invested generally.
There were also relationships that I was intrigued in seeing play out (while there was only one in the first movie). My personal favourite being between Rama/Yuda and Uco (played by Arifin Putra) who is the son/heir to a notorious kingpin. I found their interactions really great to watch. There was something just so intriguing about them but with the different dynamics throughout the movie, there was rarely a moment where I wished it would just be over. Every interaction felt purposeful and was usually a joy to watch.
Everything about The Raid 2 is compelling. It has a lot of forward-momentum but never loses sight meaning that it always feels like it’s pushing towards something instead of just aimlessly moving around. Every move feels deliberate and all aspects feed together really well. It also felt a little more ambitious and the obvious improvements are clear. Don’t get me wrong, The Raid was also fantastic and I would never recommend watching The Raid 2 without seeing its predecessor first. This one was just a lot tighter and had some really fantastic payoff throughout.
At the end of the day, you should definitely be checking out both of these movies, they’re absolutely worth your time and things only get better and better.
Rating: ★★★★ /5