The first Raid — Indonesian-by-way-of-Wales director Gareth Evans’s 2011 action flick, in which the indefatigable Iko Uwais murders his way up a gang-controlled apartment building — was a pummeling, nonstop extravaganza of violence. Roger Ebert hated it: “Some of the hand-to-hand battles are shameless in how they mimic video games. A fighter stands in a corridor and demolishes an enemy. As the enemy falls, another springs into position from around corner [sic], ready to be demolished in turn. Then another. It’s like they’re being ejected by an automatic victim dispenser … [O]ne action figure after another pound and blast one another to death … no dialogue, no plot, no characters, no humanity.” Then, also: “There’s obviously an audience for the film, probably a large one.” Which, yes, of course! Plot, character development, blah blah blah: Give us never-ending face-crushings and we’ll be quite pleased.
For Evans and Uwais’s second go-around, however, they seem concerned with at least a bit of story arc. The trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal finds our hero coming to terms with what he hath wrought in that apartment building: There are new crime bosses and imprisoned sons and undercover assignments and all kinds of drama. And then, knowing its audience, the trailer flips and unleashes the barrage: a baseball bat being deployed with great skill, a fellow defenestrating himself for no apparent reason, the world’s least sexy mud wrestling. Bleeding foreheads, machine gun bursts, subway bash-a-thons. Car flips, groin kicks, pickaxes to skulls. It. Is. Awesome.
PS: According to various online translators, “berandal” means “scum,” “scamp,” “hooligan,” and, my personal favorite, “highbinder.” Do with this information what you will.