The task of following up the incendiary first film must have been incredibly hard. The Raid: Redemption reconfigured the perception of how an action film should be and, somehow, Evans was able to not only carry the momentum of the first film, but increase it to an absolutely insane level.
The Raid films seem like they are action movies made by someone bored with the conventional action movie. Evans is an uncompromising director, he is never afraid to keep the camera rolling, and particularly unafraid to go over schedule and budget if the film demands it. It is this refusal to fall victim to mediocrity that makes these films so damn good.
A big fear going into The Raid 2 is that the action choreography might grow monotonous and stale. The exact opposite was true. The action sequences in this film do not simply rival the best of the last, they blow them out of the water. The hits are harder, the kill count is larger, and the gore budget has been raised a few painful notches. The martial arts sequences in particular seem more fleshed out as the fighters, and their custom conceived fighting styles, became increasingly varied.
Another high point is the camerawork in this film. There are some camera movements which I’ve never seen before, the complexity of their execution still lingers in the mind. It is a talent which might take other action directors years to master, and Evans seems to have grasped it with incredible ease and he knows how to wield it. There is a car chase scene which deserves a place on the short list for “greatest car chases of all time”.
This begs the question: Is The Raid 2 better than the first film? Most definitely. The first Raid film hinged heavily on the novelty of it’s video game like concept of battling through the ever-increasingly difficult levels of an apartment building to reach the boss on the top floor. The Raid 2 does keep the abundant amount of stylized (almost gimmicky) action sequences, but it also has a lush and well constructed plot to support all of this. The Raid is back, with both a big concept, and an even larger budget.
Gareth Evans’ Raid series is changing the landscape of action cinema in a way that hasn’t been seen since John Woo’s Hard Boiled. The true definition of auteur, Evans has proven his prowess as an editor, a writer, and a director, and solidified his Raid series as the greatest action franchise to emerge in the last decade or more. If there is ever a burgeoning Director to be excited about, this guy is it, and his film The Raid 2 is a film you absolutely can’t miss. The film opens worldwide this coming March.
Check out the awesome new Trailer here: