The Raid 2 (2014)

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Raid 2: Raid Harder

Director: Gareth Evans
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo, Alex Abbad

Taking place shortly after the events of The Raid, Rama (Uwais) goes undercover within a Jakarta prison. His mission is to get close to a mob boss through befriending his son, then to bring down the syndicate and uncover corruption within the police.

Gareth Evans' follow-up to the 2012 surprise hit is a stronger affair, largely thanks to the inclusion of two key elements: a story, and character development. While the latter contains few surprises, and former's bursting with exposition, it's still an improvement.

It's true that the majority of viewers will be watching this due to the exceptionally choreographed action scenes, it's a shame the story and character work feel like an afterthought to the violence. This is especially true when taking how engaging Uco and Bangun's family politics

Indonesian Hell's Kitchen contained more
controversial material than swearing chefs.

Evans allows more of an emotional connection to be felt towards Rama this time around, with Iko Uwais putting good work into the role. But it does feel as though some few key moments were left out, like how Rama is affected by the length of his undercover work expanding, or from how he's one of the previous film's few survivors. What's interesting is how Pakoso, who's essentially a side character, is given a great deal more development in his few scenes. Thankfully, Yayan Ruhian gives a great performance to justify spending time with this character.

Through the inclusion of an actual story and character development, The Raid 2 is superior to it's predecessor. Unfortunately, it remains far from perfect. The writing is still in need of work and the run time could've been trimmed down. Hopefully the inevitable The Raid 3 will be able to continue this upward trajectory.