ME WHEN I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE
"Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans."-Evo Morales
THE RAID 2: BERANDAL (2014)
If you ever need to deliver a crazy beat down to a horde of attackers, Iko Uwais is the man for the job.
The 31-year-old Indonesian actor, whose team efforts with director Gareth Evans in 2009’s Merantau and 2011’s cult hit The Raid: Redemption, earned him some buzz in the action movie landscape, is no stranger to a knock-down drag-out brawl. He reprises his role from Redemption in The Raid 2: Berandal, where his character Rama emerges from one life-or-death scenario to another, seemingly in a span of mere hours. Uwais, who performs his own stunts, never ceases to amaze, enduring volley after volley of attacks from multiple opponents, something that he surely is used to by now. But Berandal is not just another run-of-the-mill action flick. Its story is grand, with characters that seem to have emerged right out of a Shakespearean play.
Berandal picks up right where Redemption leaves off, with Rama as one of two survivors of a bloody massacre in a dilapidated crime syndicate’s base. He is about to throw in the towel, deciding that a life of battling organized crime may not be for him, when a personal blow thrusts him back into the fray. This time, Rama has to go deep undercover to get to the root of Jakarta’s criminal underworld. And nothing is as close to the belly of the beast as befriending the son of the most feared crime lord in Indonesia. What ensues is a story that is clearly more elaborate and much more painstakingly crafted than its humble predecessor, but whose recurring themes of family and legacy forge an unmistakable bond between the two films.
The Raid 2: Berandal is unsurprisingly quite the action-packed affair, with sequences that are so mind-blowingly relentless that viewers can almost feel the heat from all the excitement emanating from the screen. Uwais bounces from one brawl to the next, doling out the signature grappling moves that make the martial arts of pencak silat so unique. Director Gareth Evans clearly takes advantage of a bigger budget, experimenting with more creative ways to film these fast-paced, hard-hitting sequences and squeezing the most drama out of numerous exposition shots. This is certainly one of the things that separates the sequel from the original; Evans takes his time telling the story of Berandal. Where Redemption throws the audience (and Rama) into the thick of the action from the moment the camera rolls, Berandal patiently unfolds, giving the film a very different look and feel. Colors bleed into the screen and shots are more stylized in this ambitious sequel. The result is an adrenaline-fueled opera set on a bigger stage and with more dramatic flair. Berandal feels like a classier, grown-up Redemption, and is a well-executed sequel overall.
(possible spoilers after the cut)
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