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The Raid 2 (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 5, 2014 by  



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When it comes to a martial arts film with non-stop action, Gareth Evans managed to create a sequel that is worthy of attaching the “The Raid” name to it. This action film is fantastic! If you love action films and loved “The Raid: Redemption”, then this is a no-brainer… “The Raid 2” is a must-see!

Images courtesy of © 2014 PT.Merantau Films. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Raid 2

TELEFILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 150 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish (Latin) 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Spanish (Latin)

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (For Sequences of Strong Bloody Violence Throughout, Sexuality and Language)

Release Date: July 8, 2014

Written and Directed by Gareth Evans

Produced by Nate Bolotin, Ario Sagantoro, Aram Tertzakian

Executive Producer: Rannga Maya Barack-Evans, Todd Brown, Irwan D. Mussry, Nick Spicer

Music by Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese, Fajar Yuskemal

Cinematography by Matt Flannery, Dimas Imam, Subhono

Edited by Gareth Evans

Starring:

Iko Uwais as Rama

Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso

Julie Estelle as Alicia/Hammer Girl

Arifin Putra as Uco

Oka Antara as Eka

Alex Abbad as Bejo

Donny Alamsyah as Andi

Tio Pakusodweo as Bangun

Roy Marten as Reza

Ken’ichi Endo as Goto

Ryuhei Matsuda as Keiichi

Kazuki Kitamura as Ryuichi

Very Tri Yulisman as Baseball Bat Man

Following immediately after the events of THE RAID, Rama (Iko Uwais) is forced to reinvent himself as an undercover cop in order to provide protection for his wife and child. Working for the anti-corruption taskforce led by the one person he can trust, Bunawar, he is given a mission to engage himself as an enforcer for a local mob boss, Bangun. Finding a way in through Bangun’s son Uco, Rama must hunt for information linking Bangun with police force corruption. All the while, he harbors a dangerous and personal vendetta for revenge and justice that threatens to consume him – and bring both this mission and the organized crime syndicates crashing down.

For Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans, he grew up watching Hong Kong action films and loving films featuring Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

Prior to the success he had with the film “The Raid”, Evans had written a screenplay titled “Berandal” (which translates to “thug”) about what if a undercover police officer was put into a prison to find out information about corrupt police officers.

Unfortunately, “Berandal” was passed over and “The Raid” was developed and became a success as one of the greatest action films to come from Asia.

And with the success of the first film, it gave Gareth Evans a chance to work on “Berandal” but to tweak it in order to feature the character of Rama (portrayed by Iko Uwais).  And the result was “The Raid 2”, which was released in theaters in March 2014 and has received positive reviews.

And now “The Raid 2” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

“The Raid 2” begins with the death of Rama’s brother, shot point blank by the

VIDEO:

“The Raid 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  Picture quality is magnificent as closeups show great detail, especially the scars.  But it’s the all out attention to detail when it comes to injuries, people being maimed or heads being shot point blank.  The film looked amazing and colors are well-saturated, I saw no problem with artifacts or banding.  “The Raid 2” looks amazing on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Raid 2” is presented in Indonesian/Bahasa and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The lossless soundtrack is amazing.  For example, one scene features The Baseball Bat Man dragging his aluminum bat through the pavement while his enemies await.  You can hear the sounds growing louder through the rear surround channels and I felt that was so fantastic to see how sounds were employed.  Especially from metal upon metal, explosions, gun shots, car crashes, you name it, this action-packed film utilizes its soundtrack with efficacy.

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Raid 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by writer and director Gareth Evans.
  • Gang War Deleted Scenes – (4:37) Deleted scenes.
  • The Next Chapter: Shooting a Sequel – (10:47) A featurette with interviews with Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais, staff and crew on working on a sequel and how Gareth’s previous screenplay became “The Raid 2”.
  • Ready for a Fight: On Location – (12:59) Building the sets used on “The Raid 2”.
  • The CineFamily Q&A with Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais and Joe Trapanese – (44:09) A post-screening Q&A with director/writer Gareth Evans, actor Iko Uwais and composer Joe Trapanese.
  • Violent Ballet: Behind the Choreography – (19:03) The fight choreography featured on “The Raid 2”.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (1:36) The theatrical trailer for “The Raid 2”.

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If you read my review for “The Raid: Redemption”, you would know how much I loved that action film.  It was a constant, consistent, in your-face film with action galore!

A film that focused on the action while maintaining a simple yet riveting storyline from beginning to end.

And here we are now with the sequel, “The Raid 2”.  A much different storyline that puts the character Rama in a much different situation than before.

As the local Indonesian mob led by Bangun is still going strong and the rival Japanese yakuza group led by Goto also maintaining power, both have remained calm for a decade with no gang war.  And there happens to be another mob led by Bejo, who is responsible for executing Rama’s brother who worked for Bangun.

But with corrupt officials, especially in the police force working with the mob, a small and secretive police force led by Bunawar is trying to end the corruption but needs more evidence.  And the only person they feel that can infiltrate Bangun’s operations is noone other than Rama.

Feeling that because they got to his brother and if they find out Rama is a copy, his family could be in danger.  So, he must take on the secret mission given to him by Bunawar.

Leaving his family in protective custody while he embarks on his undercover mission, his goal is to be put in prison and survive.  But most importantly, try to get close to Bangun’s son, Uco.

And once in the prison, we are greeted with another “Raid” featuring constant, consistent action as Rama takes on dozens of prisoners in order to protect Uco but also earn his trust.

“The Raid: Redemption 2” is an exciting non-stop action film that just keeps coming at you. Action scene after action scene, you’re just captivated by this roller coaster of a ride as you go through crazy situations, but there is more of a plot as we see Uco not being content with his father and not being in control, he wants to quickly ascend to being the main crime boss.

Returning to the film is Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso, a different character from the first RAID but nonetheless, a character that truly kicks a lot of ass!

The fight scenes showcasing pencak silat is amazing! What I enjoyed about the approach of fighting choreography for this film is to not having these fight scenes perfectly choreographed. Mistakes happen, there is no clear edge of who will win and as Iko Uwais who plays the main protagonist Rama was pretty cool in execution, actor Yayan Ruhian is amazing.

But what Gareth did much better than the first film is include even more characters that can kick ass.  One of the coolest characters in the film is Julia Estelle’s Hammer Girl.  Stylish, donning glasses and her expensive purse, but a deadly killer that only uses a hammer and its claws to stab an opponent.

You also have Baseball Bat Man (portrayed by Very Tri Yulisman) who fights his enemies with a baseball bat and basebal and like Yayan Ruhian, you get the Pencak Silat fighter Cecep Arif Rahman as the assassin.  Each of these three who work for the suave and manipulating, Bejo.

And of course, actor Iko Uwais was magnificent in the role of Rama.  No longer the rookie, this character is a human weapon that never stops, never surrenders and keeps fighting.  Uwais was fantastic in the first film and for this second, he managed to take the character to another level.  Impressive!

But the violent action scenes are intriguing at times, you don’t get your one or two stabs…people are stabbed repeatedly, many times.  People are viciously beaten but not shown to the camera in the most grotesque of ways.  There are many violent scenes but fortunately Gareth didn’t make the film overly gory.

While I enjoyed the sequel tremendously, the first film is much better in execution, while the sequel had much better action sequences and characters, ran a bit too long. There were scenes that I felt could have been eliminated and wouldn’t hurt the film one bit.

Also, one shouldn’t delve into thinking about the characters and their health status as this film is not for the heavy thinking analytical.  Yes, Rama has amazing healing factors that kept him fighting but it’s best not to delve and think about it too much.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality was fantastic and the lossless audio was immersive and equally magnificent.  The special features include a documentary, Q&A post-screening and more!

But when it comes to a martial arts film with non-stop action, Gareth Evans managed to create a sequel that is worthy of attaching the “The Raid” name to it.  This action film is fantastic!

Overall, if you love action films and loved “The Raid: Redemption”, then this is a no-brainer… “The Raid 2” is a must-see!






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