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The Raid 2 (2014)
More importantly, this much-anticipated subtitled sequel phenomenally showcases more of the break neck - and neck breaking - graceful brutality of Pencak Silat, Indonesia's traditional martial art.
Thought to be older than the earliest archeological evidence of its existence dated around the 6th century AD, Pencak Silat is comprised of hundreds of animal-inspired martial arts styles reflecting various specialized regional combat techniques that originated throughout the Republic of Indonesia's ancient equatorial archipelago of over 13,000 islands and beyond. For instance, some tribes observed how eagles or apes fought, while others watched how tigers or snakes attacked and defended themselves. Indonesia's colonisation by the Dutch beginning in the 17th century, and its subsequent WWII occupation by Japan forced this fierce indigenous martial art underground, resurfacing as a unifying national sport with the formation of the Pencak Silat Association of Indonesia in 1948. Pencak Silat joined the competitive, non-fatal ranks of the International Olympic Committee-supervised Southeast Asian Games in 1987.
Brit-born writer/director Gareth Evans' third feature, The Raid: Redemption - aka Serbuan maut (Indonesian for The Deadly Raid) - slammed onto the action movie scene as an immediate sleeper hit among hard core fans. Its fairly thin, subtitled story cast Indonesia's 2005 National Pencak Silat Champion Iko Uwais as Jakarta police rookie Rama, whose stoic intent to bring home his estranged criminal lieutenant brother Andi (Donny Alamsyah) led to Rama rockin' the house and racking up the body count fighting ruthless drug lord Tama Riyadi's (Ray Sahetapy) tenement horde of murderers. One-on-one. Relentlessly jaw-dropping, the brutal beauty of full-on, lethal Pencak Silat was the true star. The Raid: Redemption won the Audience and the Film Critics Awards for Best Film at the 2012 Dublin International Film Festival, and the Midnight Madness People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
And, yeah. If you also saw Dredd (2012) with its suspiciously similar story premise, you know in your red-blooded action movie-lovin' heart that The Raid: Redemption made Dredd seem as pointless to the genre as, well, Judge Dredd (1995) was.
The Raid 2: Berandal picks up
almost immediately after The Raid: Redemption ends. Evidence
linking top brass in Jakarta's police force with the city's long-time
underworld kingpin Bangun throws Rama into two years of prison
hell as small time goon Yuda - and then deep undercover as the
trusted right hand of Bangun's son Uco - in a dangerous scheme
by anti-corruption squad elder Bunawar (Cok Simbara) to flush
out high level cops linked to Indonesia's strongest crime family.
Berandal is Indonesian for goon. Torn by blood and duty, bent
on protecting his wife and newborn son from gangland revenge
for his recent decimation of Riyadi's slum army, Rama soon ends
up not knowing if he's fighting gangsters or cops as Uco's not-so
secret lust for more control in his father's empire sparks a
power struggle, threatens war with the Japanese mob and strengthens
the deadly rise of Bejo and his loyal assassins. (Read
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