Film review: The Raid 2 (18)

SCOOPING us up from where The Raid: Redemption left off, director-writer Gareth Evans seems a man in a hurry.

The Raid 2

The Raid 2 (18)

Star rating: * *

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SWAT officer Rama (Iko Uwais, right, with Cecep Arif Rahman) is still raw and bloodied after surviving a police raid on a crime-infested tower block in Jakarta when he’s brought before a special police squad. Keen to rid the city of gangsters and police corruption, they send Rama undercover into a prison to win the trust of hotheaded mob princeling Uco (Arifin Putra).

The Raid 2

Welsh-born, Indonesia-based Evans knows how to shoot carnage, but has still to prove he knows how to plot it. Last time around he borrowed heavily from John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13. Here he apes The Departed and Infernal Affairs with much less success. The movie is compulsively too much, throwing everything it can think of at you, in case it fails to entertain.

There are lengthy, gory fights with hammers, boxcutters and baseball bats in kitchens, nightclubs and prison bathrooms, but the bashings and smashings are monotonous – particularly since these remorseless fighters are so devoid of personality that when Evans revives the first Raid’s most memorable action-fighter Yayan Ruhian, by recasting the actor as another ruthless fighter called Prakoso, it barely causes a ripple.

Why should it? The Raid: Redemption was a reheat of the best ideas from real martial arts veterans such as Chan-wook Park and Johnny To. Now Evans is making thin soup from his leftovers. Raid 3 is coming up, but you don’t need to see it to have seen it all.