Picking up where its immediate predecessor left off, The Raid 2 plops infallible upstart Rama (Iko Uwais) in the middle of a longstanding, moreover secretive search for corruption among his own ranks. Initially imprisoned as a mere means of masking his true identity, Rama must subsequently infiltrate an infamous criminal superpower via the befriending of young Uco – the resentful son of a figurative God amongst men – in order to set things in motion. As extenuating factors threaten both Rama and those he’s in cahoots with, the mission’s completion-specific demands become more palpably life-threatening at every turn, thus prompting Rama to take drastic measures to survive while ensuring his family’s safety.
In a tactful attempt to expand upon his conceptually facile but enthrallingly executed initial film, Gareth Evans pours on the well-intentioned convolution as The Raid 2‘s gangland inspirations are illustrated. Basally involving amid anticipated surges of snapped limbs and spilled blood, the script’s emphasis on archetype-heavy gang war tensions serve mostly to bloat rather than enhance the proceedings. Abrasively hammering home Uco’s “I’m not a child anymore!” manifesto, the narrative’s driving impetus remains glaringly uninvolving despite the inclusion of other elements for the sheer sake of added conflict and violent resolution.
Barring this foreseeable discrepancy and an entirely unneeded subplot, The Raid 2‘s unflinchingly violent and visceral technical proclivity shines through without fail. Skillfully multifaceted in terms of choreography and the physical ability on display, the brash overabundance of shock value is forgivable if only for the sake of intended inventiveness. Gratuitous as some bits may be, you’ll undoubtedly have a hard time faulting the film for its near-tangible endurance.
Detrimentally ambitious if agreeably effective while capitalizing on obvious merits, The Raid 2 does little else than viscerally engage. Frequently fumbling as key groups and individuals fail to leave a lasting impression, all we’re left with is a passion-infused slog permeated by flashes of Evans’ artistic promise and periodic prowess. It’s bloody, bold and inventive in and of itself and similar fare, however the warranted increase in scope doesn’t succeed as fully as it could’ve.