Gareth Huw Edwards has done it again, only this time bigger.
Sequels are always tricky usually a pale imitation of the original but what Edwards has done here is raised the stakes and upped the scope of the first one.
The film begins almost immediately after the end of The Raid:Redemption and finds our hero being thrust into the more complex world of gangsters and corruption at the highest level. Here, he has to infiltrate one of the major crime syndicates in order to take them down.
Beranthal retains all the best of Redemption and expands on it making it a crime thriller as well as keeping the ultra violence of the fights, of which there are many incredible set pieces. The music, like the first one, brings to mind the music of John Carpenter’s films, moody synths and it fits into the composition of the film beautifully. We get an insight into the world of gangsters in Indonesia and the corruption that is behind it much more extensively than the first one.
Poor Rama (Iko Uwais), it seems like the skills he has have forced him into situations of which there are no escape, short of fighting his way through them to the very end. What is painful for him is an adventure for us.
At 2 and a half hours this is a roller-coaster ride that delivers on all counts bar a slight confusion of who some of the characters are, but that may be down to me.
I got there in the end.
It was with joy that Yayan Ruhian returns as a different character. He was brilliant as Mad Dog in Redemption and he also choreographed the fight sequences with Iko Uwais as he did for the first one. An incredible martial artist whose skills in Pencak Silat and other forms of martial arts are plentiful.
Special mentions go to Julie Estelle as Alicia ‘Hammer Girl’ and Vey Tri Yulisman as Baseball Bat Man who deliver some fantastic action sequences.
Edwards retains the extreme violence and comic book style of the first one and firmly places himself in the top end of action film directors. I wonder if, and when, he will make an English language film and how it will be. Time will tell.
This is definitely a film not for the faint of heart but if you are interested in martial arts and the action genre you should definitely check it out.
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