'The Raid 2'
What: This sequel has police officer Rama going undercover to get inside an organized crime gang and then facing a gang war.
Where playing: Carmike-Dupont
Running time: 2 hours, 28 minutes
Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody violence throughout, sexuality and language.
No star rating available.
LOS ANGELES — Leaving behind the original's grungy Jakarta tenement setting for the luxurious hangouts of Indonesia's organized crime overlords, “The Raid 2” pumps up its production values several notches.
Lining up bloody showdowns like the dizzying acts of a hyper-violent ballet, Gareth Evans' sequel invites accusations of, ahem, overkill. But the fanboys will eat it up.
There's more of pretty much everything in this sequel. That means it sacrifices some of the purity of the first movie, which had its share of weaponry but was rendered exciting and distinctive primarily by its virtuoso assaults of lethal fists and feet on flesh.
The bravura martial arts mayhem is choreographed again by lead actor Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, who also appears, though as a different character from last time. But Evans expands the hardware beyond the usual guns and knives, giving some of his assassins their own special tools.
Uwais returns as police officer Rama, but his bad-seed brother, Andi (Donny Alamsyah), isn't so lucky. He gets iced in the opening minutes in a sugarcane field by Bejo (Alex Abbad), a half-Arab gangster looking to grow his territory.
Demonstrating that the cops are almost as ruthless as the crooks, Rama is forced to go undercover in an anti-corruption task force, with the understanding that the safety of his wife and child depend on it. He's cornered into doing prison time to get close to Ucok (Arifin Putra), the cocky son of old-school crime boss Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo), whose syndicate co-exists peacefully with that of his Japanese counterpart, Goto (Kenichi Endo).
In a great kickoff to the fight action, Rama gets Ucok's attention by single-handedly dispatching the welcome committee with little more than a steel bathroom door. While the cop initially refuses overtures to join the mob scion's gang, he steps in when Ucok's life is threatened.
The gritty squalor of the prison is the chief visual link with the grubby aesthetic of the first movie. It's also the setting for a massive smackdown when all hell breaks loose in the muddy courtyard after a downpour. Rama shows his resourcefulness by making creative use of a broom handle, earning Ucok's respect and loyalty.
Cut to two years later, when Rama is ushered upon his release into Bangun's employ. Nervous about keeping his identity under wraps, he receives little help or reassurance from his police supervisor. He proves his worth to Bangun, but the cop's safety is jeopardized when Ucok rocks the boat, seeking advancement from his reluctant father.
His dissatisfaction becomes known beyond the organization, bringing an offer from Bejo to team up and start a war between Bangun and Goto while honing in on their territory.