Double Feature: The Raid / The Raid 2

If you're an avid fan of the Star Wars franchise or track movie-related websites, chances are you've encountered the news that the stars of The Raid movies are making an appearance in the new Star Wars movie. I'm stoked that they're going to be on the franchise, primarily because I like The Raid movies, and it's a great opportunity for them to go global. I finally got to catch up with The Raid 2, and though the plot of the movies isn't the reason why people watch the movies, I needed a refresher on what went down with the first movie, hence reviewing them both now.

The Raid: Redemption

Rama was a new member of the Indonesian SWAT team whose first assignment was to raid this building known for its criminal activities. However, things go awry for the group when not everything inside is what it seems, and Rama is trying to save his life while uncovering data pertaining to their botched mission. 

Since the lead actors double as stunt coordinators, The Raid was filled with a lot of action-packed scenes transpiring in a dark, run down building. The movie delivers the intensity it promised as it doesn’t fail to keep the momentum, and at the same time it doesn’t get repetitive even if the characters are engaging in battle over and over again. It helps that the delivery of the scenes differ albeit the similar circumstances. 

Focusing on the display of martial arts sequences, the movie runs on a plot that provides continuity. Even if the main goal is to fight off the bad guys, Gareth Evans manages to insert some plot twists (if you could call it that) to keep events moving. The fighting scenes were well choreographed and the cinematography was able to make it stand out, particularly the grand fight scene between the brothers and Mad Dog. 

For a low budget flick, it does feel like a Hollywood production in a not-so-Hollywood way. It succeeds because it doesn’t feel cartoon-ish, and delivers quality that grasps the attention of the audience without resorting to grand explosions, and letting martial arts do all the talking. 

Final Word: If you're an avid fan of martial arts, or find entertainment in watching Hollywood-made martial arts movies (like the Jackie Chan starring ones), this might be up your alley. 

Cast:  Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy
Director: Gareth Evans
Year: 2011

The Raid 2: Berandal

The sequel takes place immediately after the first movie, an undercover mission spanning years in order to root out the other corrupt officials. In order for Rama to filter these people out and keep his family safe, he went undercover as Yuda, a prisoner who earns the trust of the Bangun family after he saved Uco’s (the son) life. The movie takes us to the grounds of mob families, though barely touches on anything about the subject. 

The sequel certainly didn’t skimp out on the action, ranging from debt collection, car chases, and ultimate face-offs involving new characters. With a longer run time, Edwards certainly filled his movie with a lot more stunts that still manages to capture attention because it doesn’t let go of its momentum. There is no build up; even the plot pacing has to be constantly moving in order for the fight sequences to commence with ease. He does add more content to his plot, but it’s just to fuel the scenes that people expect when watching the movie. 

There’s certainly a lot more gore and violence involved, but unlike its predecessor, this doesn’t have one stand out scene. Instead, there are multiple well-choreographed scenes that showcases the actors talents and abilities in the art. There is a danger of sequences getting repetitive, but with the added limitations of the environment, it still manages to impress. The cinematography certainly adds to the presentation of the sequences, allowing maximum exposure of the art. 

It moves with a bigger budget, and it certainly delivers in terms of entertainment. With a third movie in the works, I wonder how the franchise is going to go out with a bang, or if Evans will take this opportunity to introduce a new lead character (with talks that the third movie takes place two hours before the final events of Raid 2). There’s not much martial arts movies coming out these days, so the burnout of the franchise is still a long way off, but it will be a challenge to top this one off. 

Final Word: Bigger and flashier than its predecessor, 

Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra
Director: Gareth Evans
Year: 2014


  1. I absolutely love both of these movies. I think they're the top 2 martial arts.flicks of this century. I'm almost dreading the upcoming American remake, though.

    1. Both movies were great! I wasn't sure what to expect when I watched the first Raid movie, but I could not believe that was still low budget at that point. The second one basically just brought everything in a much bigger scale, and it was still great! I did not know there were already plans for it. I hope they capture the essence of the movie though.

  2. I'm constantly reminded that I need to see these movies...

    1. Give it a go when you have the time (or if you're up for some action packed sequences). Looking forward for your thoughts about it!