This sequel to the smash hit (pun intended) “The Raid: Redemption” finds Rama (Iko Uwais) going undercover to root out the corruption that led to the bloodbath in the first film. Thrust into prison on a mission which quickly spirals out of control, Rama must find his way through the Jakarta underworld without losing himself along the way.
Rama goes undercover and is sent to prison to befriend the son of the local kingpin. After endearing himself to the family, he goes to work for them after his release and must keep his secret, undo the family and thwart a powerplay from a rival crime lord while keeping the Japanese crime syndicate at bay. Add a possibly rogue undercover cop, a zealot in control of Rama’s life, corrupt cops and a good old-fashioned mob war and you get two hours of violent mayhem.
This is a direct sequel to the first film, following in the footsteps of the first botched raid. The setup is a bit awkward and requires a lot of suspension of disbelief as well as a pretty naive hero. But if you’re watching these films looking for plausibility, you’re missing the point.
This film doesn’t fail because it’s “over the top”, it fails because it ignores what made the original great. The fight choreography in the first film was second to none and truly worked to compliment the story – there was a beauty to each fight scene which told a story and set the stage for the next movement in the tale. Most of the fights here are gratuitous and a step behind. Some of them are just plain weak. The story is also less compelling and the characters become so one-dimensional that they serve no real purpose except as fodder. Only one character has any real “story” and he’s quickly dispatched, making the whole thing seem like a contrived attempt to make the audience care.
As a pure fight film, this is still a solid choice. While there are a few clunkers along the way, some of the fight scenes are on par with the original – at least one of the fight choreographers from the first film (Yayan Ruhian) worked on this one as well, appearing himself in two of the more memorable fight scenes in each. If you’re looking for an adrenalin rush to follow the first, this works. If you’re looking for a great all-around action flick to follow the first…watch the first one again.