The Raid 2 : Berandal

10:31:00 PM

Hey y'all!!!

After writing a full review on Divergent, i found myself liking to be able to rant about certain movies (while some other makes it hard for me to write even one full paragraph *LOL*) without having to limit myself in fear or making my already usually very long movie reviews even longer. So i decided, if there are movies that i have too much to say about, i will dedicate a whole post for them. And it didn't take long for the next movie to come up because The Raid 2 demands a full post for it.

Now, it might comes as a total surprise to most of you who knows that action movies and i-well... we don't really go hand in hand. I enjoy some action movies thanks to my hunny who keeps on dragging me to see them, but so far i have not seen any that leaves a lasting impression. The Raid 2 however, does just that (despite the fact that it's NOT perfect. There are a lot of plot holes in them, but then again aren't most actions movies are leaden with plot holes? LOL. I mean, if the story's super detailed and specific, i think it'd be a drama movie instead).

The Raid : Redemption was a phenomenal movie (with cult following) that shakes the movie world, catching the attention even for Hollywood big names (it is rumored that Brad Pitt was a fan of this movie, and it also catapulted Joe Taslim's career. He's cast as one of the Villain in Fast and Furious 6) and took everybody by surprise. After all, it's an action movie and it's INDONESIAN? Sounds hard to believe, especially for an Indonesian like myself (who tend to associate most Indonesian action movies with badly directed, disgustingly cheesy and cheap action scenes).

Okay, so it's not entirely an Indonesian made movie, Gareth Evans being the mastermind and the "do man" (he directs, edit, writes, and doing who knows what else for the movie (s)!) of both The Raid and the sequel, but all the stars in the movies are Indonesian, and so are the crews! That's amazing even in itself, who knows that Indonesians are capable of making a Hollywood-scale movie under the right direction? I certainly didn't see that coming!

After the HUGE success of the first movie, The Raid 2 : Berandal (meaning "thugs" in Indonesian. Not a word that we use often in everyday convo, making me wince a bit with the cheesiness that the word brings...) continued right where the first movie ended. Rama (Iko Uwais), the rookie cop, finds himself catching the attention of Jakarta's bigger mafias after his troop's actions in the first movie that destroyed a druglord's nest (who was actually just a small fry) and unable to resume his normal life. Seeking both revenge for his brother who got killed by one of the mafias and the desire to keep his family safe, he went undercover and enter the criminal world himself in order to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within the police force.

Before i talk more about my POV about this movie, let me warn you first that this movie's exceptionally gory, brutal and  sadistic. So, it's not for the faint-hearted, AND not for kids! It's rated A in the USA, so please... Clueless Indonesians,  DO NOT bring you kids to this movie (Or throw tantrums when the ticket officers warn you about it!) It's nothing like your usual Jason Statham-Vin Diesel-Dwayne Johnson movie formula with so-so violence and blood, this movie's gory scenes puts Kill Bill to shame. Nuff said. 

Like i said before, the movie is NOT perfect. But it's good enough to be compared to international and Hollywood action movies, and i am damn proud to say that because frankly, it's not a very common thing for Indonesians to be able to boast about their movies okay (except for like, drama and some old horror movies. Action is definitely not our strongest suit in the industry)! I will break down what i like and dislike about this movie one by one.

THE LIKES

1. The cast
Honestly- i, as most Indonesians, tend to be very skeptical of our own home-grown talents. We're too used to see our actors playing stupid, cheesy and disgusting roles in sinetrons (seriously, our sinetrons even got included in Night Owl Production's Shit We Watch on Television and i can't even feel slightly offended because they're right! LOL). Their roles and the scripts are so bad, we decided that all of our national actors are as BAD. LOL. 

While Iko Uwais (who, let me point out, has no acting background prior to being discovered by Gareth Evans) didn't pull an Oscar worthy acting or whatever, he did so much better and give Rama more dimension in this second movie (honestly his role in the first movie was totally overshadowed by Joe Taslim's). I read a review who stated that he is only interesting while in motion, well.. isn't that common for action movie stars? I don't think Jason Statham's going to get an Oscar for his dramatic acting anytime soon. He is AWESOME where it counts, in his actions. His deep root in pencak silat shows and i'm glad he gets to show the world what he's capable of doing and introducing our own martial art (so the world knows there's more than kung fu, karate or judo in Asia) to the world. He's so so good, that one review referred to him as "Blood thirsty Jackie Chan" and i couldn't agree more. Do you know that he and Yayan Ruhian choreograph those action scenes in the movie?
Iko Uwais as Rama
The movie is speckled with Indonesian veteran movie stars (as both the police generals and the mafias), but it's quite clear who stole the limelight : the villains. 
Arifin Putra as Uco
Arifin Putra had me worried for a second, he plays in a lot of sinetrons that i thought he's incapable of doing anything remotely close to an ambitious, arrogant but slick villain. But he did just that, sorry for doubting you! And he's not hard on the eyes as well...
Julie Estelle as Hammer Girl
Julie Estelle didn't have a LOT of scenes, but the ones that she was in were very memorable. Maybe mainly because it's so starking to see such a pretty, slender girl in a girly dress swatting clawed hammers and gauging her enemy's guts out with them. LOL. Having no background in martial arts, she did a great job being a wordless, cold-blooded assassin (her cold expression didn't change in the fighting scene!). Oh and some reviewers described Julie Estelle as an up and coming Indonesian actress? Hardly, she's totally a household name locally from years ago.

Not only them, but every cast actually did a great job, with world class performance that didn't leave me cowering in embarrassment while watching them. Even Epy Kusnandar who's better known as cheesy comedian in Indonesia and Zack Lee, who's more famous as a local bad boy who weds a previously popular singer. LOL. And i find it interesting that a lot of the younger casts are somewhat related to MTV in their younger days (Arifin Putra was a finalist for MTV's VJ Hunt while Alex Abbad was an MTV VJ, slightly unrelated but Julie Estelle's older sister was an MTV VJ as well).

2. The actions
 
Let's face it, it's an ACTION movie, if the action scenes are bad or cheesy... Then what's the point in making it? I was actually blown away by the incredibly good choreography in the fighting scenes (a review called in an Action Masterpiece) that flows really effortlessly, looks very very real and intense. Apparently they hired all professional athletes and fighters for this movie, and it shows. The action scenes are definitely in par with Hollywood productions, even the car chases scenes are very very good. I kept on worrying about them looking very fake and sinetron-ish *LOL*, seriously... If not for the dialogs i totally couldn't believe that it's an Indonesian (okay, partly) movie i'm watching!

3. The make up and shooting style
One thing that i kept on saying throughout the movie (much to my hunny's annoyance, i'm sure) was how good the gory make ups were! The effects were breath taking (and i also love the very artful way Gareth shot this movie, very beautiful-totally in contrast with all the blood and gory) and i insisted they must've hired some Hollywood make up artist to do all the work here, but i was wrong! We watched the behind the scenes last night and turned out that the make up director is a she and she is an Indonesian! Another proud moment, please!

And now to the bad parts.

The Dislikes :

1. The dialogs 
First of all, please do not expect a very in depth story because as most action movies, it focuses on the ACTION and not the plot. Having said that, i'd say this sequel has a lot more going on than the first movie-which could be a good or bad things, depending on your preference. I like this second movie a lot better than the first one, but that doesn't mean i appreciate the escalated drama parts in it. Lots of the drama scenes were dragging on (read : boring), and we all know Iko Uwais is better off fighting and killing bad guys than trying to look pained and tortured for his family, and the movie plot is very very shallow.

But the worst part would be the dialog. I spotted early on how the police played by Cok Simbara (who's a veteran actor in Indonesia) even repeatedly confusing the words "gue" and "saya" (both meaning "me" in Indonesian but one is a LOT more polite than the other one). The dialog was... well, cringe worthy *LOL*, and i believe the choices of words does not fully reflects how the movie wants to be portrayed. I mean... If you want it to be really brutal then you shouldn't be afraid to use harsh words in the movie. Instead, the dialog was made to be very careful and therefore, doesn't fit in the story. Too cheesy. Plus the actors often mumbles, and as a native Indonesian speaker it's heart breaking that i even wished they'd put up the English subtitles so i can understand what they're talking about. LOL.

2. The weather-unfit costumes 
I know that people argues that this movie's not really based in Jakarta but in Gareth Evan's alternate universe therefore one shouldn't complain too much about the discrepancy with the real Jakarta/Indonesia-but being an INDONESIAN, how can such thing doesn't bother you? It makes the movie a bit less authentic and real to my eyes. Probably wouldn't bother US or UK movie goers, but for South East Asian watchers? Most wouldn't be able to not notice!
I don't care if you're a top mafia or whatever, you DO NOT dress like that in Indonesia!
LOL. Seriously, i may not know much about mafias in Indonesia, but they do exist and roam around without being noticed by innocent locales like me-they surely doesn't dress like that! You do realize that Indonesia is a TROPICAL country, yes? No matter how cold it gets in Jakarta or Surabaya, you wouldn't be able to walk around unnoticed dressed like that. Period. I believe even Indonesian mafias dress to blend in, and while the bosses might be very dressy and drenched in designer clothes, they would not risk a heatstroke by wearing long coats in Jakarta *____*.

3. The Snow
WHY DOES IT SNOW IN JAKARTA????? LOL. Yes, i am one of those annoying movie goers who dare to question the director's right to do whatever he wants in his movie and complains about it. No, seriously, just like the weird, weather un-appropriate clothing, why does Gareth Evans need to add another weird part where it snows in Jakarta (for one minute and it's dry as a desert on the next scene)??? Yes yes, i know it's supposedly just a dramatic flair to make the scene even more gripping (it didn't do it for me, though) and feel for Prakoso, but IT'S STILL WEIRD!!!! *throwing tantrums*. I couldn't help but noticing the Lo Mie cart on the scene and now you can't even tell me it's not supposed to be in Jakarta, okay!

I must add another one :

The Unsure

Don't worry, i only have one more thing to add. The re-casting of Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso after his character as Mad Dog died in the first movie.
Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog in The Raid : Redemption
Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso in The Raid 2 : Berandal
Yayan Ruhian is an excellent martial artist and choreographer, he also became a huge hit with fans of the movie and made a name for himself among martial art movie lovers. I am impressed by his talent and i gotta say... If not for his lack of... errr... good looks, he'd be a huge star. Unfortunately with the society as it is, he'll never make it big other than be the typical villain/sidekick in the movie world. 

Critics condemn his re-casting as a different character because it's confusing (since his character as Mad Dog was definitely one of the most memorable characters from the first movie), some reviewers ever confuse his new character as the old one, they kept on referring him as "Mad Dog" when in fact he's playing another (very different) character. They say it's quite jarring, and i tend to agree because we certainly were very confused as well. But it's nice to see him back to enrich this movie with his expertise-that's why i put it under the unsure category, i'm definitely torn whether this is a good or a bad thing.

Conclusion

I really really enjoyed the movie! Even though it's a bit too gory for me that i have to repeatedly cover my eyes when it gets too much, but i still find the movie super entertaining and a total work of (bloody) art (it's shot so beautifully too with breath taking backgrounds). Reviewers seems to be torn in two, some are adamant that the first movie was much better while the others think that the second is a total improvement. I am one of the latter, i definitely think this second movie's even better than the first one! For comparison, the first movie received 7.6 viewers ratings in IMDb while the second one got 8.9, judge for yourself :D!

Bottom line i'd really love to recommend this movie for every body, Indonesian especially (support Indonesian movies, please! Especially the ones that are as good as this one!) but also international audience as well, it's totally worthy of your time!
 

#Pink

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6 comments

  1. kemaren pas nonton muppet, ada the raid lho di bioskop deket kita! pengen banget dah nonton... tapi kayaknya mesti nunggu dvd nya keluar nih.

    btw aneh banget sih kok ada salju segala? padahal itu kan ceritanya emang di jakarta kan?

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    1. Aihh iya nih, so exciting ada film Indo yg main gede2an d US n UK >.< *bangga*. Iya film nya super duper gory, ga bisa bawa Andrew ama Emma hehehe...

      Iya nih defense nya sih krn ini Jakarta tp alternate universe, tp kalo buat aq sih... film nya kurang "fantasy" kalo emg mau di buat aneh2 gitu hahaha

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  2. Just a top of mind question because you mentioned subtitles: do your local films always have subtitles in English? When I was in Singapore, their films whether local or international always have. Maybe this is to cater to foreigners.

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    1. No, not really... They only put English subtitles for movies that will be shown overseas, and even those films will not have English subtitles when showing locally.

      Yeah, i know what you mean, then again Singapore's national language is English, while ours in Indonesian so the subtitles are in Indonesian instead :)

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  3. Mungkin ceritanya si Prakosonya udah agak setengah sadar, jadi saljunya itu dari sudut pandangnya Prakoso? Kan abis dipukulin di klub, trus otaknya jadi ngehang, makanya dia ngeliatnya salju. Hahahaha..

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    1. Hahaha mungkinn... Aq sempet Googling krn penasaran banget, menurut article sih engga ada maksud apa2 cuma supaya dramatis (dan kontras sm darah) dan mencerminkan kematiannya Prakoso yg kesepian dan sendirian gitu *katanya* :p

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