The Raid 2 : Berandal
Prologue : The Raid 2 had been on my must-see list for a lot of reasons from great critical reviews to the comparison of Iko Uwais with Tony Jaa and so on. But the low promotion of the film in India and the market for foreign films of this genre being weak, the film was not released like other international releases here.
It released on select plexes and i had to travel a bit farther to watch this on the big screen. Today being a Sunday there was mega block of local trains, so took a taxi and had to shell out Rs 150 just to make sure I don’t miss a single scene. As it turned out, the Sterling cineplex of South Mumbai is far from the hype that it has on the internet. Its shady and a horrible mess of a theater, worse than the single screens of Dadar with very poor sounds and a very small screen. I was expecting 5-10% occupancy but it was nearly 50% full but unfortunately and shockingly filled with many old couples in the age group of 45-60. I wonder what prompted these ugly old blokes to check a film like Raid 2. One couple sat just next to me and the movie had not even begun and they started taking their stuff out of the bags and begin munching on groundnuts and popcorn right into my ears making irritating chewing sounds. I was hoping that they have probably come in this screen by mistake and they weren’t supposed to watch Raid 2. That was not to be. Bloody fucking fat ass ugly looking paunchy bastards.
Synopsis : The film is about an aging gangster named Bangun whose son wants to take his position. The son gangs up with his father’s nemesis named Bejo to kill his father. Iko Uwais as Rama is the undercover police agent is given the role to enter this gang and prove a nexus between corrupt police officials and the gangsters.
Review : I am not going to talk about its story at all. There is a decent bit of plot but you can read it on Wikipedia 🙂 What I want to talk about is the direction, how many action scenes does the film have and how good they are.
There are only 3 fight scenes in the first half each one of short duration. Two fight scenes are in prison. The first prison fight is like the Oldboy scene which was done in a narrow lane with a gang attacking one person. That scene had only one camera angle which was the side view angle. Here some more camera angles are used – side, top back and the fight is more intense. But its very short may be 1-1.5 minutes duration and ends abruptly. Not much in terms of any innovation in choreography but camerawork is good. There is one shadow boxing scene right after this scene where Iko Uwais displays tremendous box-speed on the wall. Its a vast improvement from his earlier outing in the Raid Redemption. He has bettered himself in terms of speed and seems to have got some training in Wing Chun boxing.
The second fight scene is a prison riot where Iko saves the son of the gangster. Visually its like the riot mission of GTA Vice City PC game. It was a good opportunity to choreograph a one-vs-many fight but the director Gareth Evans limited it to one-vs-one and max one-vs-two fight. The fight is choreographed well but there is too much shaky camera work in this scene. Background music is very good in this scene and also throughout the film. Cinematography is quite good. Slow motion is used at appropriate places and never during the fight which was good.
The third fight scene is in a warehouse and its a regular fight scene evading the possibility of one-vs-many.
The film has better action scenes post intermission. It starts with the fight scene of a female henchwoman “Hammer Girl” with a gang of armed men in a train. The scene reminds you of a similar Uma Thurman fight scene in Kill Bill but unlike that shitty OTT scene directed by that idiot wannabe action filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Gareth Evans has done a good job. The scene is very bloody and gory but quite realistic. Julie Estelle as the Hammer girl is not an exceptional talent like a Jeeja Yanin but she did well being an Indonesian model. There is one fight scene of Yayan Ruhian who played Mad Dog in part 1 and those who have seen part 1 know how good he was in the climax fight scene. He has 2 fight scenes in this, both choreographed very well. In fact his scene is better than even the scenes of Iko Uwais. He has knowledge of parkour combined with Penchak Silat. His death scene is classic not to be missed.
The climax has 2 good fight scenes back to back. One is Iko Uwais vs Hammer girl & baseball bat man and another between Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman (guy in the first pic). First scene is a medley of Kama and baseball bat fight scene using techniques from Penchak Silat, Kung Fu and a bit of Kali. Basketball bat is used as the stick fight from Kali while the Kama is used for Silat and Kung Fu style. Iko Uwais uses Silat, Taekwondo and couple of Jujitsu ground techniques (joint locks, leg locks etc) this time which we never saw in part 1. So this was good.
The final fight is a one-on-one between Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman and its the best choreographed scene technically. Various forms of fight styles are used and it ends with Kama fight with Iko Uwais slitting and slashing every part of Arifs body and then slashes his throat out, not recommended for fainthearted.
Overall, I found that the film has good action scenes, better than any action film released in recent years but there is no one-vs-many scene in entire film. The USP of the film is the gore and violence, not technique and choreography. Mostly what we see in usual films is when bullet is fired or sword slashes the body, the screen blacks out cut to the next scene. But director Gareth Evans likes showing what happens after a bullet hits the head point blank, how the skull tears apart, how the Kama slashes the throat and how the veins and meat come out and so on 😀
A word on Iko Uwais in comparison to Tony Jaa, Micheal Jai white and Scott Adkins:
Iko Uwais has bettered himself a lot in this outing. He has learnt some more fighting styles which I talked above. But I will still put him behind Tony Jaa and Scott Adkins as of now. He is surely the more quicker among the 4 but he is not yet ready to give us a good one-vs-many believable action scene. He has to learn some parkour techniques. I would put him above Micheal Jai White though.
Rating : 4/5 RecommendedTags: Gareth Evans Iko Uwais Julie Estelle Member Reviews Movies You Watched This Month Reviews The Raid 2