Now that I’ve had a day to process it, here’s my take on The Raid 2: Berandal. (Caution: there will be minor spoilers here.)
Let’s get the negatives out of the way — the only thing that (some ADHD-riddled folks) will complain about is the length and the subtitles. Also, a few cinephiles may not be happy about the recycled story concept — it’s a high-octane martial arts re-imagining of the outstanding Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs that was later re-made into the Academy Award-winning Hollywood film The Departed. The plot and characters can get a little labyrinthine with the double-and-triple-crosses but that isn’t a complaint just a heads-up that this action film has a strong component of character development and interaction.
With that said, The Raid 2 picks up right after the end of the first movie and puts main character Rama (Iko Uwais) back into the mix as an undercover agent sent to bring down two Indonesian crime syndicates. I have to say, the acting in this movie is strong from top to bottom. You get to know each character and why they do what they do — and some of them are slimeballs but others are crimelords with a sense of honor and duty.