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The Raid 2

How often do I go on and on about how much I love action movies? Those serious about the genre, know there was a relatively unknown gem out of Indonesia a few years ago called The Raid: Redemption. Except for Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, who provided the score for the US and international release, the rest of the team were virtual unknowns. Most who did find it hailed it as one of the best action movies ever, or at the very least, the best of the current lackluster era.

When I saw the first one, I thought the action sequences were stunning beyond belief. However, I felt the lack of overall plot made the film drag a bit. I'd forgotten I'd said this a the time, but in skimming over that write up, I noticed that I'd be curious to see what director Gareth Evans would do with a big Hollywood budget. Turns out, that's exactly what we got with The Raid 2.

The success of the first film gave him a bigger budget to really up the ante. I was happy that we got more plot and some character development. Maybe a little bit too much in the center where there could have been more asses being kicked, but that was more than made up for as the film went on. With more story, the stakes were higher when kicking said asses, which makes this film pack more punch (see what I did there!)

And OMG those action sequences. Lightning fast moves. Enough blood to make Tarantino queasy. I'm not usually squeamish for blood, but broken bones get me, and I was gotten a lot during this film. Several of those sequences will be truly memorable, and I'm sure will come to mind when I inevitably talk about action films in the future. The prison riot was extreme in the best way possible, as was our hero's fight with the hammer girl and baseball guy. But the absolute best was the kitchen fight. Seriously, one of the all time best fight scenes EVER. Our hero, Rama (Iko Uwais) vs the Assassin (Cecep Arif Rahman), personal body guard of our bad guys. Uwais deserves to be a major action star, and Rama should be as infamous as Rambo or John Mclain or The Transporter.

I was kind of surprised at how full the crowd was when I went. The film had been out for three weeks, and was down to just two showings a day at one theater. I expected to have the place to myself, so I could eat my contraband Happy Meal in peace. But there was at least a group or two in each row. The crowd was very responsive to the action, with appropriate sound effects of elation and/or sympathy. Basically lots of "oofs" and "OH!"s and "ahh". Whoops and groans. Everyone was amped up on the way out. I heard several different enthusiastic conversations discussing this vs the original or giving blow by blow recaps. I barely even noticed the film was 2.5 hours long.

I'm just excited that The Raid 3 has already been announced.

The Raid 2 - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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