28 March 2014 | TheIneffable
The Best Action Movie Ever Made
((From: http://thinmanmoviereviews.wordpress.com/)) In 2011, Welsh director Gareth Evans gave us "The Raid: Redemption" – one of the best pure action films of the last decade – and hinted at his potential to be a new and exciting presence in the writer/director realm. The action was hard-hitting, lightning fast, supporting a simple, contained story of one man fighting against an entire tower of enemies in a way that was reminiscent of classics like "Die Hard". Well, if "The Raid" was one of the best action films of the last ten years, Evans' follow-up film "The Raid 2″ has now set the standard for the next twenty. In fact, I'm going to make a bold statement that you can feel free to quote me on:
"The Raid 2″ is the best action movie ever made.
Where sequels are concerned, this film does absolutely everything right. It takes the frenetic energy of the original, contained within the twenty-story drug den in which it took place, and lets it loose across the urban sprawl of an entire city teeming with warring crime syndicates, corrupt police officers, and the civilians often caught in the crossfire. No longer contained to just one address, the fight scenes in "Raid 2″ cover car chases, cramped subway trains, muddy prison yards, night clubs, and city streets, and every action set piece hits all the right notes. Every punch thrown and bullet fired is made even more effective by the fact that all of the action is done practically. In an era where so much of the action that we see on screen is dominated by the CGI-centric explosion extravaganzas of Michael Bay and the like it's incredibly refreshing to see highly trained stunt professionals being pushed to their limits to deliver a collection of the best action scenes in modern memory. Much of this work is shouldered by the film's lead, Indonesian-born Iko Uwais, the returning star of the first "Raid". Uwais is reminiscent of a younger Jet Li or – dare I say it – Bruce Lee; moving with such self-assured speed and practiced precision that every move deserves multiple looks to take in all the details. The comparison to Lee is bolstered by "The Raid 2″'s finale, which plays out like the final gatecrashing act of "Game of Death", in which our hero has to slug his way through opponents of increasing lethality. Unlike "Game of Death", "The Raid 2″ lets us see our villains in action almost as often as our hero, and it's a credit to Evans as writer/director that each of these characters is absolutely dripping with charisma and cool. There are no wasted characters here; we love every hero and love to hate every villain.
The script is, with few exceptions, always on-point. What could have simply been a straight-forward action flick with minimal plot to carry us from one action set-piece to another is instead a mad whirlwind of conspiracy, murder, and double and triple-crosses, steadily ratcheting up the tension to the film's explosive conclusion. From a technical standpoint, the impressive cinematography matches the action stride-for- stride and, looking back, there are a dizzying number of wildly choreographed long-takes that put every nuance of the environment, characters, and action on display. Combine this with a pulse-pounding soundtrack and some absolutely superb practical makeup effects accompanying every injury, no matter how small, and "The Raid 2″ is the complete package. With a third film already in the works, making this a trilogy, Hollywood has been put on notice: Gareth Evans has arrived; he's just dramatically changed the landscape of action films and shows no signs of pulling any punches. [10/10]