To sum up my review of The Raid: Redemption, I loved pretty much every minute of it. Even after seeing it, I had no idea that it would even be released in North American theatres, let alone become so successful that they would make The Raid 2.
The sequel is, in many ways, a very different movie from the first. Having finally fought it’s way out, the series is no longer limited to the confines of a broken down high rise and we get to follow Rama through the streets of Jakarta as he continues his mission to take down the local underworld. Rama is now deep undercover and in completely over his head. While The Raid used the simplicity of its claustrophobic story to its advantage, The Raid 2 tries to be an epic crime story as Rama gets caught in the middle of turf wars and double crosses from within the crime family he’s investigating. Director Gareth Evans has a lot more characters to juggle this time around.
With all of Jakarta at its mercy this time, The Raid 2 is predictably even more outrageous this time around. If there aren’t enough hammer-wielding hot deaf female assassins for you in the movies you’ve been watching, you’re in luck! And- bonus!- her interpreter is a baseball bat-wielding hitman!
Evans has not lost his touch directing the fights and he proves just as capable with car chases and uses more elaborate set pieces that would not have been an option before, given the limitations of the first film’s settings. You can make a strong argument that this is the better of the two movies. It’s more ambitious, more violent (which is saying a lot), and left me feeling even more exhilaratied by the end. More conservative fans may find some of the final fights about a minute too long (unlike in The Raid, which was careful not to overstated it’s welcome) but you won’t hear me complaining. Movies that are as well-made as this are almost never this much fun.