The Raid 2 – BERANDAL
Well here's our review of Gareth Evans Berandal Raid 2, a film which has been getting rave reviews left right and centre.
Now Berandal is the film Gareth Evans initially wanted to make after the original Merantau film, but due to budget costs and scope it became apparent it was not possible at that time.
This was the reason the Original Raid film was made, toned down and simplified by taking place in more or less one location for the entire film.
Now I have already mentioned in our Raid review that I did not think the film as good as it's predecessor MERANTAU.
My problem with the original Raid was it took a while for the actual fighting to get started ,much of the beginning was the Swat team getting into the building and lots of gunfire taking place.
So with the event of The Raid 2 I was not as hyped for the sequel, you also have to remember I have probably seen more martial arts films then most , believe me I have seen loads ,sometimes watching three films in one night on a regular basis .
Now one thing against this film is the fact that I have just seen Donnie Yen's new film ''Kung Fu Jungle '' (review on site) at the World Première.
Now your be saying that of course a World Première can not compare to a film I'm watching at home. But as I view all films on a projector on a glass bead screen for a sharp picture and am surrounded by seven speakers ,three of which are nearly as big as me , I am getting the cinema experience and I have copious amounts of tea to keep me in tune.
The Raid 2 takes place just after the first film, it opens with Rama's ( Iko Uwais) brother getting executed in Jakarta . The film follows the rivalries between two gangs in the region, the Bangun and the Goto.
Rama is approached by a anti police corruption force led by a police officer by the name of Bunawar.
The idea is to reveal the dealings between the Police Commissioner Reza and the Goto and Bangun gangs.
Rama initially declines , you have to remember he's just been through hell in the Tama building Raid ( The Raid) , but news of his brothers murder pushes him as he and his family may be next.
What happens next is quite a classic plot line but of course serves as the catalyst to all the action where going to be exposed to , and there is a lot of action .
Rama goes under cover to infiltrate the Bangun group , by doing so it is expected that the corruption will be extinguished. Now with most organised crime syndicates you can not just walk in an say I will join you as you have nothing better to do .
So a plot is devised where Rama under his new identity of Yuda will gain the trust of the Bangun groups leaders son ,who just happens to be serving a prison sentence.
By posing as a criminal and beating up on one of the gangs enemies , in this case a politicians son who is fighting against the gangs he hopes to be befriended by Bangun's son Uco.
Without fail he succeeds and when released from prison two years later Uco is there waiting for him.
Once in it will be a game of of chess as Yuda gets deeper within the Bangun group , but unforeseen circumstances speed up the final outcome when a frustrated Uco does the unthinkable.
It's from Yuda's prison release that the film gets under way, prior where treated to a couple of cool fight scenes ,one which encompasses a martial arts and battle field organisation, reminiscent of the writings from The Art of War.
Very interesting if your heavy into your arts and battle strategies, of course within the raid they are taken to the extreme for entertainment value.
It's also here that where introduced to a lot more characters within the story , mainly adversaries Yuda will meet . But also members of a gang led by Bejo ,a ruthless sadistic man who wants to pit the two rival gangs against each other after both parties have had a ceasefire for many years.
Alicia aka Hammer Girl is a assassin working for Bejo , of course her trademark are two claw hammers with which she delivers her wrath to anybody against who ever she is working for.
Alicia's brother labelled as Baseball Bat man , it looks like they did not give the character a name , yes he uses a baseball bat to fend of his foes , though his trademark move is to use a baseball by smashing through someone.
A welcome return was Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso , though I'm sure he is just referred to in the film as Koso, Koso is the Bangun groups assassin , Yayan played Mad Dog in the first Raid film and also starred in Merantau.
In the West he is now known as Mad Dog Ruhian to any body into these type of films. Though his role was little more then a extended cameo he was also the films fight choreographer ,so was busy all the time.
With all the car chases and fight action in and out of speeding vehicles , gang fights where people are getting hammered ,battered about the head and sliced and diced with machete's ,knives and razor blades only about two fights within the whole film have that rewind moment where you need to see a certain move.
One near the beginning of the film and the other is the kitchen fight where Yuda confronts Bejo's enforcer in a piece of hand to hand combat to relish.
If I have one problem with Berandal it's that it is reliant on how this hammer might go into someone’s head or if this baseball bat can put a big dent into another’s. I found most of the action fuelled by the use of effects in the make up and false limbs department. Some of the beatings with household tools and sports equipment where so OTT that it numbed me to the action in places.
Oh it's another claw hammer in a head ,foot or eye. As opposed to seeing two combatants exchange blows in a chess like battle ,maybe I would have liked the baseball bat man to have a pair of sticks instead and Hammer girl maybe having Nunchaku or a chained Sickle.
The first thing that came to mind with Hammer Girl was Oldboy , and that particular films scene is a classic not bettered by even this film, so why try?
So is Berandal a martial arts film or is it a action film with martial arts , I think the latter is where it is coming from.
I was also disappointed with the lack input from the Japanese gangs side , other then the train fight which was a prime example of action overload with more body breaks then Jackie Chan has had in real life.
A martial arts film has a certain feel and well being about it. There's the honour ,the discipline and then the confrontation ,usually between a couple of adversaries. This is usually driven by the watchers need for justice or revenge of said character.
There's no doubt ,Berandal is a fine piece of action cinema , but some plot lines are left to linger ,while others reveal themselves at to later moment in time to be worth mentioning.
And the main problem for me is I did not care for Yuda's well being, he had been so beaten through out the film that I thought he was a member of the XMEN team.
But any film that can keep the pace up for a astounding one hour and fifty minutes is truly eye candy.
I think at times to much action can dilute your feel for a film, but where as say the original Tom Yum Goong with Tony Jaa had the equal amount of action ,with the original Ong Bak coming close . Berandal fails to capture those films passion for the fights even though their stories where quite silly in perspective , I felt I wanted to stand up and fight along with Tony Jaa in those films ,helping him in his quest for justice.
I just did not get any of that with Berandal. It was more a case of , ohh that was good , oh another hammer in the head .
The DVD gave either Subtitle Indonesian soundtracks or Dubbed English in Dolby 5.1 , would have liked a DTS track ,but like many Region 2 releases in the UK ,they omit this feature .
Score out of Ten = 8
Review Date : November 1st 2014
Reviewed by: Sertes Nake
|Directed by||Gareth Evans|
|Produced by||Ario Sagantoro |
|Written by||Gareth Evans|
|Starring||Iko Uwais |
|Music by||Fajar Yuskemal |
|Cinematography||Matt Flannery |
Dimas Imam Subhono
|Edited by||Gareth Evans |
PT. Merantau Films
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics |
Stage 6 Films
|Release dates|| |
21 January 2014 (Sundance)
28 March 2014 (Indonesia)
|Running time||150 minutes|
Character / Cast list
Iko Uwais as Rama/Yuda
Arifin Putra as Uco
Tio Pakusadewo as Bangun
Oka Antara as Eka
Alex Abbad as Bejo
Cecep Arif Rahman as "The Assassin"
Julie Estelle as Alicia a.k.a. "Hammer Girl"
Very Tri Yulisman as "Baseball Bat Man"
Ryuhei Matsuda as Keiichi
Kenichi Endo as Hideaki Goto
Kazuki Kitamura as Ryuichi
Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso.
Cok Simbara as Bunawar
Roy Marten as Reza
Epy Kusnandar as Topan
Donny Alamsyah as Andi, Rama's brother.
Tegar Satrya as Bowo
source : wikipedia