For the first time in over a decade I got my ass kicked. Physically, mentally, emotionally I was assaulted. Sometimes it was with a bat (or a hammer). Other times with knives of various lengths. But for the duration of the 2 hour and 30 minute beat down, the weapon of choice was our very own flesh and bones. Well, by ours I mean all the actors in the absurdly good sequel to “The Raid: Redemption”.
If you haven’t seen the first one, I’m begging you to give it a chance. I’ll even pray if you want me to (for all the good it’ll do). Especially if you like non stop action movies. After the first 10 minutes of the first movie it’s fight after fight after fight. That’s an hour and a half of hardcore ass kicking. We are introduced to the best martial artist since Jackie Chan in Iko Uwais (no disrespect to Tony Jaa. All disrespect to Jet Li). We also meet probably my favorite villain of any movie, ever. Did you just hear me? My favorite villain of all time! This coming from a guy who cried and walked out of a college class after Heath Ledger died. “The Raid: Redemption” was the best action movie I’d ever seen. Was. Until about 12:30 PT on Sunday April 13th 2014. That was the moment I witnessed the greatest action movie of my generation, “The Raid 2”.
I know how high I’ve made your expectations. Believe me I’m well aware. The thing is….I don’t care. It’s so rare we see a sequel better than the original. Hell, we hardly ever get a decent sequel. This movie is easily in the starting five of “best sequels ever” lineup.
- The Godfather 2
- The Dark Knight
- Terminator 2
- Mighty Ducks 2
- The Raid 2
The fact that this movie was two and a half hours and I never ONCE felt restless says a whole lot. I honestly wanted more when the credits appeared. We were treated to more Rama, more bad ass henchmen (two of which are pictured at the top), and even a Terminator 2 storyline (where the bad guy from the first one is now a good guy). “The Raid 2” gives viewers everything we wanted from a sequel. It’s like the director could read our minds. Let me stop myself there. This man needs to be given credit. He’s edited, written, and directed BOTH of these movies. All himself. Hey Hollywood, how about we give Gareth Evans a summer blockbuster already? Frankly, I don’t care what you give him, just give him something. Anything.
When it comes to criticisms of this flick I’ll only allow one. Subtitles. Personally, I don’t mind them at all. They didn’t stop me from loving “Pan’s Labyrinth”. The original Hunger Games, “Battle Royale”, is still lovably gruesome. And this might still be the best action movie ever if you mute it. But subtitles aren’t for everyone. I just can’t do 3D. Even for films where they are designed for that specific purpose (Avatar I’m looking at you). I’d still rather watch it in regular 2D. Just a personal preference. So I’ll give you the subtitle argument if you want to nit pick. But that’s as far as I’ll go.
That’s all I’m writing on this movie (I told myself I’d write nothing at all) because I just cannot do it justice. All I’m doing is gushing. And probably to the films detriment. Action movies pretty much raised me. That doesn’t make me a savant, but I sure as hell appreciate the good ones. And I’ll go to war over the great ones. I’ve seen them all folks. From the martial arts icons (Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa), to our 80s gods (Arnold, Stallone, Willis, Van Damme. You’re van damme right I said Van Damme), the next generation (Keanu, Damon, Cage, Cruise, Crowe, etc) and even now to our current stars (Neeson, superhero flicks, Expendables, everyone in Fast Five). None of their movies compared. All of them I loved. But I’ve never been so satisfied after an ass kicking than after seeing The Raid 2.
As I was writing this I saw Tony Jaa will be appearing in the third installment of the franchise. Holy. Fuck.