Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Raid 2 - The scoop and digest

For Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais, life in Jakarta began in 2009 with Merantau.

The box art incorrectly states Merantau Warrior.

Why?  Who knows?

Evans does 'threesomes', epic fights and bone-crunching violence.

In order for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover to at least compete, Jet Li famously 'slowed down' when the mismatched duo took him on in Lethal Weapon 4.

SNK's original shit storm Fatal Fury allowed Terry and Andy, Andy and Joe or Joe and Terry to double up on a single CPU opponent.

As The Raid was fairly tremendous, topping his devastating original would be quite a feat.

You don't have to watch Machete to feel how much these things hurt... 

Changing the formula, this butter is spread beyond 24 little hours.

I will be brief as possible because further analysis will explode later.

Plot details and/or spoilers will strike faster than lightning.

Those making a noise without shouting include:

Iko Uwais - Rama
Arifin Putra - Uco
Alex Abbad - Bejo
Tio Pakusodewo - Bangun
Oka Antara - Eka
Cecep Arif Rahman - The Assassin
Julie Estelle - Hammer Girl
Very Tri Yulisman - Baseball Bat Man

A group of cars arrive in a sugar cane field and a bound and bagged man (Rama's brother Andi) is forced over a freshly dug shallow ditch.  Rising underworld star Bejo promptly orders his death via a shotgun blast to the head.

Flashing back to events just after the original, police big cheese Bunawar informs Rama that in order to bring down the corrupt Reza, he must go undercover.

Committing a minor crime is traditional to feast on lumpy porridge and while in the clink, he's given the identity of Yuda - Uwais's char in Merantau.

Wait a mo, he's an 'undercover cop'?

If you make this dangerous act of surveillance plural, you'll have an absolute classic 1992 scrolling brawler from Irem. 

Once inside, a punch-up with multiple inmates inside a toilet cubicle is just a drop in the ocean...

Bangun's son Uco is impressed with Rama's takedown of 15 baddies and offers allegiance, which is rejected.

A set-to in mud escalates into a riot and Rama is eventually knocked out by screws.

Two years later...

Now free as a bird, Rama is taken to meet Bangun who is grateful for protecting his son while inside.

Bangun's guy Eka escorts Rama to spacious digs where he takes the opportunity to call his wife and requests to hear the voice of his child.

At a porn den, the man in charge orders a 'bitch' wearing a strap-on to fuck a willing participant in the asshole.

Yes, you can't expect somebody in this line of work to ask nicely.

When Uco informs what he receives in bribery money is no longer sufficient, things go nuts.

At some point, we meet Koso who turns out to be an assassin working for Bangun in order to provide for his family.

On the receiving end of a karambit knife, Koso later opens up to The Assassin, one of Bejo's top henchmen.

We also say hello to Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl.  Incidentally, the latter is deaf and relies on her brother's instruction.

They embark on a kill crazy rampage across town as members of rival gangs fall by the wayside.  Oh, Rama can't help but get stuck in and as police attack, he's at the centre of corruption.

Uco is 'disciplined' by his father but when Bejo and his cohorts invite themselves in, Uco blows Bangun away.

Rama is subsequently overpowered by The Assassin and taken away in a taxi to be presumably buried in the same sugar cane field as his brother.

Along with the help of the injured Eka, they escape but his saviour dies when taking five in a wasteland.

Right boys and girls, you wouldn't like Rama when he's angry.

Forcing entrance to Bejo's warehouse isn't exactly subtle or scientific, but nevertheless, effective.

Baseball Bat and Hammer Girl team up against Rama and once both are deprived from our company, The Assassin is eager to take care of unfinished business in the kitchen.

Rama dispatches the ultimate challenge and finally reaches Bejo.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.  Oh, and a few more bangs later...

Uco kills Reza and Bejo, but is gutted like a fish by karambit.

As the victorious and exhausted Rama staggers downstairs, Keiichi and his gang arrive. Dialogue is silently exchanged with Rama eventually stating "No... I'm done."

Err, what was this like?  (Deep breath).  How about....FUCKING INCREDIBLE.

Seriously.  It's that good.

Fisticuffs in the original were unforgettably insane but are somehow even more rip-roaring.

Have trust, you've never seen anything like it.

Weapons are used to terrific effect and the result is nothing short of spellbinding.

For fights turned up to 11, choreography has to be served with aplomb and I'm happy to say, this is remarkably spot on.

Such innovation is testament to Evans, who also designed and edited.

The sound of impact is suitably meaty and delicious bloodshed is effortlessly displayed without the slightest element of prudish disguise.

As the BBFC passed this uncut, they must have been having a good day.

You'd be forgiven for expecting a perfunctory story with acting slightly diffusing an otherwise colossal situation but on both counts, they're pulled from the highest of drawers.

Villains are arguably straight from a comic book but who gives a flying fuck?

In case you didn't notice, Baseball Bat Man, Hammer Girl and The Assassin each have their own weapons turned against them.

This is one greedy bastard of a film as a high speed pursuit demands absolute admiration.

Every extreme battle oozes originality and Rama's showdown with The Assassin might be worth watching...

There's a nod towards Enter the Dragon in this meticulously staged event as they begin by 'touching fingers'.

The cream of orchestrating action should be associated with Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and of course, John 'the legend' Woo but for such a fledgling director, Gareth Evans is already right up there.

For once, believing the hype machine is almost right.

It's a ludicrously entertaining, smile out loud, adrenaline pumping affair.

In regards to prolonged description, I've been purposely bashful because you must simply admire the most thrilling piece of celluloid that 2014 is likely to offer for yourself.

Yeah, I know it's only April.

Opening a fierce debate and discounting individual film, who's your personal favourite from this high-kicking list?

Van Damme, Donnie Yen, Chuck Norris, Sonny Chiba, Sammo Hung, Dolph Lundgren, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa or Jet Li?

Despite their essential significance, the end boss takes a back seat but psychotic man mountain Bolo is the obvious exception to the rule.

As for the female contingent, Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock qualify as being actual stars.

Iko Uwais is the new geezer in town and like Jet Li, it's only a matter of time before America secures his services.

He is the prince of punches, king of kicks and master of melee.

Of course, it would be sacrilege if Evans wasn't invited; along with his legion of bad-ass Silhat supremos.

Put it this way, the 'great man' would be impressed.

If you don't know who I'm referring to, oh dear...

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