Film review - The Raid 2 (18, 150 mins)

The Raid 2: Iko Uwais

The Raid 2: Iko Uwais

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Martial art sequel’s plot packs puny punch

In 2011, Welsh writer-director Gareth Evans gave Hollywood action movies a kick between the legs with dazzling assault on the senses, The Raid.

Choreographed by Indonesia’s greatest fight choreographers and stunt performers, it created some of the most jaw-dropping skirmishes ever committed to celluloid. The result was a 90-minute orgy of balletic martial arts. This explosive sequel unfolds in the immediate aftermath of the first film.

Fans of Evans’s hyperkinetic direction – cameras whirling around the cast at dizzying speed as they perform death-defying acrobatics – will whoop with glee at the on-screen destruction. However, while the first film hung its brilliantly-executed stunts on a gossamer-thin narrative, the sequel goes to the other extreme and punctuates its mayhem with a convoluted tale of corruption. that bloats the running time to an uncomfortable two-and-a-half hours.

When we left rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais), he had barely survived the ascent of a 15-storey Jakarta tower and apprehended a traitor in the ranks. Before he can catch his breath, Rama is interrogated by Bunawar (Cok Simbara), head of an anti-corruption task force, dedicated to weeding out all the bad apples in the force.

The Raid 2 bludgeons us into exhausted submission with its action sequences including some ferocious interludes involving the aptly named Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) and Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman).

You quickly lose count of the crushed craniums as Uwais cuts a swathe through crowds of heavily armed henchmen and meets his match in a lethal assassin (Cecep Arif Rahman).

The violence and sadism are unrelenting and the body count astronomical. Regrettably, the twists and turns of the impenetrable plot are even more dizzying than Evans’s camerawork.

The writer-director’s ambition is admirable, but his attempts to flesh out this brutal universe induce brain-ache.

Action/Thriller - Swearing, sex and violence