Monday, April 14, 2014

What if The Godfather were a martial arts film? The Raid 2: Berendal Review

Does The Raid 2 live up to hype of being our most anticipated film of Winter/Spring 2014?

  By a miracle from the film gods The Epic Review's most anticipated film of Winter/Spring 2014 finally made it to the Hollywood Foothills of NC.  Despite being an Indonesian martial arts film the original movie, The Raid: Redemption, quickly garnered a cult following within film circles thus ensuring a major wave of anticipation among film junkies for its sequel.  Could The Raid 2: Berandal live up to the original?  Find out after the break...


The Raid 2 hooks the audiences with a prison action scene
that may end up being the most beautifully shot scene of 2014!

    If the original Raid was Die Hard with insane balls to the wall action and martial arts, The Raid 2 was The Godfather with all the same elements just on a larger scale.  While The Raid 2 has all the same aspects that made the original so beloved, this time around director Gareth Evans wanted to add a legit crime drama storyline to go along with the major league butt kicking.  This goes a long way in making The Raid 2 more than just a film with epic fight scenes, but at the same time also hinders the sequel a bit.  Gone is the break neck pace and continuous shot style that made the first film seem so tight and unique, substituted this time around by an exposition on crime, family, and betrayal to go along with the jaw splattering action set pieces that were shot in such a grandiose, but at the same time intimate way, by Evans.


The memorable characters drive the action this time around!

    While there may be more story to fill the gap in between the epic action choreography, you don't don't go see the The Raid 2 expecting a definitive crime thriller.  The Raid films are all about authentic martial arts battles that American cinema just can't provide.   Two aspects that raise Berandal above its predecessor are not only the amount of large scale action set pieces but the characters that drive that action.  While one of the thing that made the original so special was the confined environment, it was a lot of fun to see these crazy characters do battle in more public places.  As for the characters who do battle everywhere from a subway to a toilet stall, each one is given a defining feature or accessory that makes them more memorable than any character from The Raid: Redemption.  Personally we found it fun to name the characters based on those defining features some of the names we came up with: Grand Slam, Hammer Time, and Hibachi: As for where we derived these epic names from, you will just have to see The Raid 2 to find out.  


In the end The Raid 2 is all about the butt kicking!

    Overall, while The Raid 2: Berandal boasts everything you would expect from a hit sequel (it's bigger, it's longer, and the action is on a much larger scale) it just does not have the tight flow combined with the very personal story that made the first Raid so unique.  While The Raid 2 lives up to all the hype it has garnered within the critical community, despite being an Indonesian film it ultimately suffers from classic American sequel syndrome meaning it's bigger just not necessarily better.

Confirmed: Great and a 1/2



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