at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

The Raid 2: Berandal

Celebrating 10 Years of Screening Southeast Asian Cinema 2004-2014

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 6:30pm
Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

Indonesia (2014, 150 min)
Indonesian w/English subtitles

Director: Gareth Evans
Screenplay: Gareth Evans
Music: Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese, Fajar Yuskemal
Cinematography: Matt Flannery, Dimas Imam Subhono
Editing: Gareth Evans, Andi Novianto
Fight choreography: Yayan Ruhian, Larnell Stovall, Iko Uwais
Cast: Iko Uwais (Rama), Arifin Putra (Uco), Tio Pakusodewo (Bangun), Julie Estelle (Hammer Girl), Donny Alamsyah (Andi), Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog), Very Tri Yulisman (Baseball Bat Man)

Having warmed up for this opus with not only “Redemption” but also 2009’s “Merantau” (also starring Uwais), Welsh-born genre specialist Evans and his regular collaborators have upped their arsenal with savvy calculation; at times they seem to be auditioning for a Hollywood blockbuster assignment, albeit with a viciousness that would knock the stuffing out of any comparable studio venture. Two particularly nasty assassins, the aptly named Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) and Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle), feel straight out of the Tarantino playbook.

Subjecting himself once more to a comical level of abuse that no fighter, however skillful, could possibly be expected to endure, Uwais makes an ideal avatar of mayhem, his soft features and quietly principled bearing offsetting his killing-machine ruthlessness. As before, the giddily over-the-top action attains a hyper-real quality that stays just this side of believable thanks to a combo of sweeping handheld camera moves (by lensers Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono) and expertly chosen locations that turn Jakarta’s brothels, subways, restaurants, offices and highways into one sprawling, splattery urban playground. If the action choreography (handled by Evans, Uwais and Ruhian) tilts toward the usual tactic of having a bunch of bad guys line up and wait their turn rather than clobbering their opponent all at once — a tactic that works better in close quarters than in wide-open spaces — the stunt work happily remains too consistently, impossibly convincing to dull the pleasure in the moment. And once again, the director (who edited the film with Andi Novianto) proves a dab hand at keeping the action in near-continual motion without sacrificing visual clarity.

“The Raid 2: Berandal,” at nearly two-and-a-half hours, is a sensationally violent and strikingly well-made sequel has been conceived as a slow-burn gangster epic, stranding the viewer in a maze-like underworld that doesn’t really get the adrenaline pumping until the film’s second half. Once the carnage kicks in, Evans’ action chops prove as robust and hyperkinetic as ever, delivering deep, bone-crunching pleasure for hardcore action buffs.

~ Justin Chang, Variety

*Umm, do we need to say that this film is extremely VIOLENT? It is not for the timid nor faint of heart.

The CSEAS Film Series is hosted by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, in support of the course ASAN 491G Cinema of Southeast Asia. Partial funding to purchase the films comes from the U.S. Dept. of Education and generous contributions from our loyal film fans.

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