The Raid 2 begins straight after the disastrous events shown in The Raid. Our protagonist is asked to work for an internal affairs unit in the police force. He does a stint in prison in order to befriend a criminal and go undercover with his gang upon release. Lots of fighting happens.
This isn’t the end-to-end thrill ride that its predecessor was, but that’s not a bad thing. Instead of sustained action, Evans opts for sustained tension. He’s settled on a more plot-focused script and The Raid 2 feels like a breath of fresh air as a result.
That’s not to say the action isn’t there or isn’t as entertaining as The Raid. Some of the stunt work and fight scenes here are second to none, with a whole host of stand-out moments. The car chase is a masterpiece as are the final 20 minutes of the film.
It’s far from a perfect picture. Sometimes the fight scenes feel a little too choreographed and there’s a confusing mix of brutal bone-crunching realism and school-boy fantasy humour. Also, the guy who played the very memorable Mad Dog in the first instalment now plays another character here. An odd choice considering it’s a direct sequel that continues along the same storyline.
The Raid 2 is a slow and menacing film, punctuated by moments of brief, explosive action. It’s a daring break from its prequel but yet another successful martial arts endeavour from Gareth Evans.