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SXSW 2014 Review: The Raid 2: Berandal
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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The Raid 2: Berandal movie posterThe Raid 2: Berandal
Director: Gareth Evans
Screenwriter: Gareth Evans
Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadwo, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle, Cok Simbara
Sony Pictures Classics
Not Rated | 148 Minutes
Release Date: March 10 (SXSW)

In The Raid: Redemption, Gareth Evans‘ 2012 Indonesian action film, Jakarta rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) fought his way through a crime-infested tenement building to bring down a drug kingpin and rescue his estranged brother, Andi (Donny Alamsyah).

In The Raid 2: Berandal, Rama’s victory has attracted the attention of Jakarta’s most notorious gangsters. With his family at risk, Rama has only one choice to protect his wife and baby: he must go undercover to enter the criminal underworld and identify the corrupt politicians and police pulling the strings at the top.

Rama sheds his old identity and becomes Yuda, a violent offender who is sent to a Jakarta prison for his crimes. While there, he gains the confidence of Uco (Arifin Putra), the son of Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) – a feared mob boss who runs crime in Jakarta. As Uco’s right-hand man, Yuda will risk his life to bring the corruption in the city to an end.

The Raid 2 at SXSW

The Raid 2: Berandal is one of the greatest action films ever made. Somehow, Evans has found a way to eclipse the mayhem of the first film and provide even more brain-shaking, eye-popping fight choreography. No longer confined to a 30-floor apartment tower, The Raid 2‘s sprawling action sequences include prison brawls, high-speed car chases, and a series of boss fights that will satiate your bloodlust fully.

First off there’s Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) and his sister Hammer Girl (Julie Astelle), a formidable duo of hired assassins. Baseball Bat Man uses an aluminum bat and baseballs to beat his victims senseless, breaking every single bone in their body before lodging the bat directly in their face.

Hammer Girl is a silent killer who is especially gifted with claw hammers. One of the film’s many standout fight scenes sees Hammer Girl using her weapon(s) of choice to rip out the throats of rivals before spiking their craniums. The brother-sister team is joined by a the Assassin (Cecep Arif Rahman), a lightning-fast killer armed with two short, curved knives. One of the film’s final battles sees Iko Uwais’ character fight the Assassin in a kitchen – and it’s one of the most impressive pieces of fight choreography I’ve ever seen.

If The Raid is Batman Begins, then The Raid 2 is The Dark Knight – a more complex narrative about escalation, with an unbreakable hero cleaning up a crime-ridden city of the ruthless killers that call it home. This is a definitive action film – a brilliant work of martial arts cinema that is exceedingly violent, exquisitely composed, and beautifully shot.

At this year’s SXSW Film Festival, the Paramount Theatre practically exploded with cheering and applause during the film – 1200 bloodthirsty movie geeks screaming with delight at every brutal, bone-crushing move. You absolutely must see this film with an audience when it is released on March 28. And if you haven’t seen The Raid: Redemption, pick up the unrated edition on Amazon for $9.99.

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