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Thursday
Apr172014

The Raid 2: Berandal

The Raid 2: Berandal
Directed by: Gareth Evans
Released on: March 28th
Grade: 3 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: John Esther

Three years after the 2011 film, The Raid: Redemption, writer-director Gareth Evans returns with the highly anticipated, vehemently violent sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal.

Essentially commencing where The Raid: Redemption finished, the sequel finds the protagonist, Rama (Iko Uwais), going undercover to infiltrate a crime syndicate and bring everybody down, especially the crooked cops at the top.

As Rama falls deeper and deeper into his undercover role, he begins to lose his sense of what is right and wrong, incrementally becoming more punitive toward his aggressors. Of course, in a society where cops and government officials are as crooked as the gangsters, who can tell what is right and wrong? The only thing to know for sure is how to survive and fight another day.

As gratuitously violent as any insane person would want it to be, The Raid 2: Berandal makes the balletic violence in 300: Rise of an Empire and the ejaculatory explosions in Need for Speed look like bloody, adolescent-minded masturbation (even more so than before). Here in The Raid 2, faces are bludgeoned, legs are snapped, heads are smashed, arms are amputated, etc., via baseball bats to the head, hammers to the throat, knives to the chest, etc. There is also a lot of death-by-furniture. Only the insecure need a gun to fight here in Jakarta, Indonesia.

For a while the martial arts choreography make the violence somewhat entertaining, or thrilling at least. Perhaps it is psychologically appealing? There is something deeply existential about seeing Rama trapped in a situation, facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles and then watch him think, or respond, using his mental and physical skills, his way out of the situation. Who does not wish he or she could master the environment like Rama?

After a while, however, each fight becomes prolonged and belligerent, thrusting the earlier thrills of the film into plotting mechanics as Rama must work his way through a game of death until all evildoers are vanquished. Ultimately, the martial artistic choreography becomes bloodthirsty pornography.

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