The Raid was a lean, brutal, propulsive action thriller laced with jaw-dropping fights and a structure that kept the endless violence fresh (basically, they started with guns, then knives, then fists, then whatever was lying around). In the sequel, director Gareth Evans has decided to expand both the fights and the story – only it seems bigger isn’t always better.
After dispatching every dangling plot thread from the first film with startling efficiency in the first few minutes (shouldn’t a sequel have something to do with the original past the same lead actor?) we get a largely unnecessary prison intro where now undercover cop Rama (Iko Uwais) establishes his bona fides (by fighting, obviously) so he can infiltrate one of the two major crime families running this particular slice of Indonesia. What follows is a complicated crime saga involving rival families and an evil third force looking to pit them against each other.
Story-wise, it’s convoluted, uninspired and occasionally cartoony: the film’s two best killers are the Manga-esque “Hammer Girl” and “Baseball Bat Guy”. But you’re here for the fights, which are a brutal, bone-snapping showcase for the Indonesian martial art of Pencak silat. They’re increasingly repetitive over the film’s two hour-plus running time, but there’s just enough variety to keep things watchable; an early mud fight is a stand out, and a later car chase is thrilling stuff.
Written by Anthony Morris