[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The Raid 2 opens today in limited release.]
When Gareth Evans’ The Raid premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, audiences were floored. It was as if someone had smacked us in the face about 800 times, and showed us that the action being churned out by Hollywood wasn’t half as effective as it could be. No amount of CGI could ever pack the punch of a perfectly choreographed, perfectly shot, and perfectly edited fight scene. The original’s barebones plot allowed the movie to mainline the action and get the adrenaline pumping. It also created high expectations for The Raid 2. Whereas the first movie was mean and lean, the sequel is epic and explosive with a twisting crime drama serving as the backdrop for some of the best action scenes you’ll ever see. The violence is brutal; the set pieces are brilliant; and the movie hits so hard that your grandchildren will have bruises.