video cover

The Raid 2: Berendal
(aka The Raid 2, The Raid 2: Thug)
2014; directed by Gareth Evans

Writer and director Gareth Evans reteams with rising Indonesian martial arts star Iko Uwais for their third collaboration together, The Raid 2: Berendal, a sequel to the 2011 international hit The Raid: Redemption, a film which was regarded (and rightly so) by many as one of the best action films of the last few years. Working with a larger budget, Evans has put more emphasis on the story than in his previous movies, but fans of The Raid don't need to worry about the action quotient in the second installment -- the stuff featured here is about as brutal and exciting as modern action cinema gets.

The Raid 2    The Raid 2

Picking up from where the first film left off, Uwais again plays Rama, a cop whose particular set of formidable skills would make Liam Neeson quake in his boots. Rama has been reluctantly tapped to go undercover into one of Indonesia's biggest gangs, not to bust criminals, but to ferret out dirty police officers. The line between cop and criminal quickly becomes blurred for Rama, a situation that becomes exasperated when the gang begins a turf war with the local arm of the Yakuza.

The Raid 2    The Raid 2

The Raid 2 runs around two and a half hours, but it never feels like it's going for that long. Evans keeps everything moving at a fast clip, peppering in enough action scenes that the viewer never feels like they're being forced into watching a long talky set of exposition for the sake of the story. This is still not a great dramatic work per se, but there's nothing here to insult your intelligence, either. The story is what it is and is effective enough.

The Raid 2    The Raid 2

But most of the audience out there will be checking this out for the action, and The Raid 2 delivers in spades. This is a extremely violent film that just apparently barely managed to get by with a R rating. There is a blood-fueled visceral feel from the action scenes that is sorely missing from most of the ultra-glossy PG-13 fare cramming into theaters and DVD players nowadays. Outside of the spurting claret, Evans demonstrates a veteran use of staging and cinematography that takes the action to a higher level than the production level would seem to provide a base for. Simply put, The Raid 2 delivers the goods and reminds fans of martial arts films why they got into the genre in the first place.


The Raid 2

DVD Information

The US DVD is released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This cut of the film, which drops "Berendal" from the title, runs 2:30:21 and has been slightly edited (mostly tweaking of blood spurts via CGI) from the original version in order to get a R rating. The DVD looks and sounds good; the picture is in a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen format, while the soundtrack is available in the original Indonesian/Japanese/English mix in Dolby 5.1 and also in English and Spanish dubs in 5.1 and 2.0 respectively. Subtitles are in English, English captions, and Spanish. They are in yellow font and easy to read, but they do appear to be dubtitles. Extras include several trailers, an 11-minute behind the scenes featurette, and a 44-minute Q&A session with Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais, and composer Joe Trapanese.

The film is available via Amazon on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.

Movie Reviews / Main Page