The Raid 2: Berendal (2014)

The Raid 2 PosterRelease Date: March 28, 2014

Directed by: Gareth Evans

Written by: Gareth Evans

Starring: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Yayan Ruhian

Synopsis:

He thought it was over. After fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen – a fight that left the bodies of police and gangsters alike piled in the halls – rookie Jakarta cop Rama thought it was done and he could resume a normal life. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Formidable though they may have been, Rama’s opponents in that fateful building were nothing more than small fish swimming in a pond much larger than he ever dreamed possible. And his triumph over the small fry has attracted the attention of the predators farther up the food chain. His family at risk, Rama has only one choice to protect his infant son and wife: He must go undercover to enter the criminal underworld himself and climb through the hierarchy of competing forces until it leads him to the corrupt politicians and police pulling the strings at the top of the heap. And so Rama begins a new odyssey of violence, a journey that will force him to set aside his own life and history and take on a new identity as the violent offender “Yuda.” In prison he must gain the confidence of Uco – the son of a prominent gang kingpin – to join the gang himself, laying his own life on the line in a desperate all-or-nothing gambit to bring the whole rotten enterprise to an end.

discs LAKE PLACID

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Lake Placid An otherwise quiet lake in New England becomes a hub of bloody activity when a giant crocodile makes itself known by biting a diver in half. The local sheriff (Brendan Gleeson) calls in wildlife officials including Bill Pullman, and the pair are soon joined by academics Bridget Fonda and Oliver Platt. Together they work to capture or kill the beast, but the croc has other ideas. Steve Miner’s film belongs on the same shelf as Tremors as a terrific horror comedy that balances the laughs and the monster mayhem to near perfection. The cast is stellar across the board with spectacularly fun performances from Platt and Gleeson in particular. Betty White’s foul-mouthed turn is still a lot of fun too. The effects, a mix of practical and CGI, work like gangbusters to bring the croc to life, and the end result is an all-around fun as hell flick. Just make sure you avoid the progressively crappy sequels. (All three of them.) [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, featurette, trailer]

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Hammer Girl in THE RAID 2

Editor’s note: Our review of The Raid 2 originally ran during this year’s Sundance film festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Let’s just dispense with the hyperbole right now. Yes, The Raid 2 will in fact cure any and all ailments, make you irresistible to the opposite sex, give you the winning lottery numbers, do your math homework for you, wash the dishes, and happily go down on you without expecting the same in return. Or not. But even without all of that it should be more than enough that Gareth Evans‘ follow up to his 2011 action hit is without a doubt one of the most brilliantly executed, excitingly choreographed, bone-crunchingly fantastic action films your eyes have ever had the distinct pleasure of seeing and hearing.

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The Raid 2 knife fight

Not to get all hyperbolic on your behind, but the best action movie in decades opens this week and you should probably go see it. Sure The Raid 2 features a mildly convoluted plot and runs an incredible 150 minutes long, but if you’re even slightly aroused by spectacularly choreographed, excitingly executed, and beautifully-shot action/fight scenes then this is the movie for you. There are 10-15 such scenes (I’ve seen it twice and still lose count as I lose myself in the cinematic spectacle) in the film, each of them worthy of being the “end fight” in most other movies, and I’m already excited to see it again this weekend. As part of the promotion for the film and to show the level of action that didn’t make the cut, director Gareth Evans has released a four minute gunfight scene that was cut from the film before its release. Check it out below in all its well-crafted and bloody glory, and rest assured that had it remained in the film it would have been the weakest action sequence of the bunch.

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SXSW 2014

When it came to driving the discussion about SXSW 2014, if you weren’t Lady Gaga, Edward Snowden or Grumpy Cat, you probably didn’t hit the trending list on Twitter. But let’s be honest with ourselves: we weren’t there to drive discussions online by taking selfies with a sad cat. We were there to watch movies and share them with all of you, our beloved readers who may not have been able to meet us in downtown Austin. Don’t worry though, you saved what amounts to hundreds of dollars in parking fees and we did all the work for you. In total, the programming team at South by Southwest selected over 130 films from over 2,000 submissions this year. It was a lot to take in, but we feel confident that we’ve narrowed our own list down to the 8 best films that played this year. To do so, each of the FSR writers who attended the festival each picked two films to highlight. That list, the definitive guide to SXSW films you should keep up with as they move on to potential releases, can be found herein. While you read it, we’ll still be trying to sleep off the late nights. Yes, we realize SXSW ended a week ago. Stop judging us.

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The Raid 2 knife fight

“Good, we got here early enough to stand under the awning.” It was 10:30pm on Monday evening, just after the first weekend of SXSW 2014. This was our second trip to the iconic Paramount Theater to see one particular movie, the festival favorite and highly anticipated Indonesian actioner The Raid 2. In total, this site’s chief critic Rob Hunter and I had, at that point, invested almost 5 of the past 24 hours in service of seeing Gareth Evans‘ follow-up to the breakout action hit of 2011. Sunday morning saw us rising at 7:00am, fueled by 3-hours of sleep, to head down to the Austin Convention Center to secure “express passes” for that evening’s screening. Said passes would allow us to get to the front of the line, where preferred seating was our reward. Two hours were spent standing in line, chatting up friends and neighbors, yawning. There was no way we were missing out on this one, despite the fact that Rob had already seen and reviewed The Raid 2 in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Later that evening, another hour was spent waiting in line to gain entry into the theater. Everything was coming together nicely. As festival programmer Jarod Neece took to the stage with unprecedented energy to introduce Evans and his film, I could feel that my most anticipated movie experience of 2014 was within reach. What happened next was somewhat unexpected…

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Meat Loaf and a member of the KISS Army in STAGE FRIGHT

Seems like just two months ago we were knee deep in Sundance coverage, but already we’ve moved on to the next big thing in film festival coverage. SXSW is the annual film/music/interactive extravaganza that draws film, music, and interactive(?) fans from all around the country to descend into Austin, TX for one hell of a good time. We here at FSR come for the movies (and the food and the friends), and this year our team is four strong and ready to rock. And by rock we mean sit in theater seats of varying levels of comfort, enjoy the culinary wonderland that is Austin’s food scene, and hang out with other like-minded characters. This year’s fest features a lot of titles we’re excited to devour with our eyes, but of the dozens of films we’ll be seeing this coming week we’ve narrowed down our top fourteen below. Neil Miller had to be talked out of putting The Raid 2 on here multiple times, Christopher Campbell moved outside his comfort zone to show interest in some narrative films, and Jack Giroux failed to realize that “anticipated” should really refer to movies he hasn’t seen yet. Keep reading to see which fourteen films we’re anticipating most at SXSW 2014.

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Grand Budapest Hotel

March may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but this year it’s a pretty wonderful 31-day span. There’s a Wes Anderson movie, Muppets, a biblical epic, and the return of one of TV’s most charming characters. This month is overwhelming with quality, so much so that I had to exclude Eva Green’s performance in 300: Rise of an Empire from this list. Not only is that semi-sequel more fun, self-aware, and bonkers than the original, but Green chews up every bit of CG scenery in her sight. I already feel shame for scratching it off. Make sure to experience Green’s performance in 3D. Never before has a woman kissing a decapitated head been portrayed with such grace, but somehow Green and the power of a third dimension makes the romantic act more beautiful and visceral than ever. None of the 10 films featured below has the actress killing it in the third dimension, but they all have their own things going for them. Again, it’s an excellent month to look forward to.

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Sundance 2014

Seems like just twelve days ago that Kate Erbland and I posted a list of our most anticipated films playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Our choices were based on elements as diverse as cast, premise, the filmmaker’s previous work, and even the two-word concept of an “abortion comedy.” As is always the case, though, expectations are never fully met, and while some movies we expected to love ended up disappointing us others that weren’t even on our radar completely blew us away. That, in a lanyard-wearing nutshell, is the beauty of film festivals. Unlike movies that open at your local cineplex or release onto Blu-ray and DVD each week, the majority of festival titles are unknown entities. There are no trailers or other marketing materials for these films, and the talent involved are often barely familiar faces at best. Most of the screenings are complete crapshoots, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This year’s Sundance was one of the most rewarding film festivals I’ve attended in regard to quality, and it’s evident in the high number of films already picked up for distribution. It’s telling that I had to exclude great and/or highly entertaining movies like Dear White People, Cooties, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, and The Battered Bastards of Baseball to narrow down my list below. Keep reading to see Kate’s and my top fourteen films of Sundance 2014.

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trailer the raid 2 berandal

Oh, Gareth Evans, how you bring me pure joy. The Raid 2: Berandal is on its way, though not nearly quickly enough. March 28, 2014 feels lightyears away, but I take heart in the slow peeling back of the violent onion layers that are the most recent trailers for the sequel to 2011’s cult hit. The latest gives us yet another peek into the personal life of undercover police officer Rama, played by Indonesian superstar and pencak silat expert Iko Uwais, who in my mind is most certainly the heir apparent to Tony Jaa’s throne of martial arts beat ‘em ups.

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laggies

There’s no science when it comes to picking the big winners at a film festival before the first film strip unfurls (or someone hits play on a digital file, as is most often the case these days), no proven method to the madness, no guaranteed formula to finding the best of the best. It’s a gamble every single time, and that’s precisely where much of the joy in attending a film festival comes from. That discovery, maddening as it may seem. This year’s Sundance Film Festival is predictably stuffed with all manner of films and talents – from the star-studded to the utterly up-and-coming – and while it’s certainly easy to pick out pictures that “sound” like they might be good or at least feature “bankable” talent, there are always a few sleepers that sneak in and captivate an unsuspecting audience. That all said, we here at Film School Rejects have attempted to apply our expertise and our personal interests to this year’s festival in order to pick out a handful of films that just might be the best of the fest, but that are at least guaranteed to send us running into a theater to see them once the festival kicks up. It’s time for Sundance! And it’s time for films! It’s even time for anticipation! And now it’s time for some anticipated Sundance films!

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trailer the raid 2 berandal

I normally wouldn’t watch a trailer in advance for a film I’m already excited about, but the last time I tried posting a teaser without actually looking at it things didn’t quite work out all that well. So this time I actually sat through all two minutes and thirty four seconds of the first full trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal. It is a thing of beauty. You should probably just go ahead and watch it now too.

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teaser the raid 2 berandal

I have a simple rule regarding trailers. If I already know I’m interested in the film I try my best not to watch teasers or trailers for it. But if I’m on the fence or completely disinterested, then I’ll give it a view on the off chance it changes my opinion, does its job, and makes me want to see the movie. Which brings us to The Raid 2: Berandal. The first teaser has just dropped for it, and it’s below for your viewing pleasure (courtesy of Twitch). I won’t be watching it though because I’ve seen, loved, bought on Blu-ray, and re-watched a dozen times The Raid. Writer/director Gareth Evans returns along with star Iko Uwais with a direct sequel to that film, and that’s all I really need to know to get my ass into a seat when Sony Pictures Classics releases the film here next year. Well, that and the smile on Hammer Girl’s face in the poster above. For the rest of you though, check out the first teaser for The Raid 2: Berandal below. Just don’t tell me what you see.

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Given that the Indonesian action gem The Raid: Redemption is already being processed and re-purposed into an American remake (for those who only like dudes punching/kicking/stabbing other dudes when those dudes are speaking English), it’s a relief to know that the original series is still pushing forward. If anyone’s going to drive an idea into the ground, it should be the folks who came up with that idea in the first place. And this first piece of teaser art (courtesy of Twitch) is here to remind us that writer/director Gareth Evans‘ second Raid film, The Raid 2: Berandal, will be upon us faster than you can dispatch four men in an elaborately choreographed machete fight. And as a teaser for a martial arts movie, it’s got everything you could possibly ask for. You’ve got a large group of people ready to beat on each other with instruments of death. You’ve got your instruments of death- canes, guns, bats and plenty of sharp objects. You’ve even got a couple of lounge chairs if things get too rough and a character or two needs to call time-out.

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The Raid 2

Gareth Evans is already knee-deep in the blood and bullets of The Raid 2: Berandal, but even though we’ve already seen some set pics, it’s nice to see further evidence of the brutal violence to come. Especially when it involves a guy’s cheek ripped raw. The above image is directly from the director’s Twitter feed: Frame grab from yesterdays filming of a shoot out… not for kiddos #theraid2berandal twitter.com/ghuwevans/stat… — Gareth Evans (@ghuwevans) April 1, 2013 Evans is still keeping the plot a secret, but the sequel opens a mere two hours after the destruction of the original, and it’s an odds-on bet that the plot will only be as thick as it needs to be to set up a baker’s dozen fight sequences. After all, it’s not like it needs an intricate story or anything; it needs two sides fighting each other. And it needs more images like this (with make-up fx work from Kumalasari Tanara). Not for kiddos! No joke.

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Raid 2 - BTS 4

We’re not alone in having a certain affinity for the work of Gareth Evans, director of Merantau and The Raid: Redemption. The Welsh director who makes his living in Indonesia, where he has spent years crafting his own brand of brutal martial arts films, just speaks to us on that most special of levels. His films are pure adrenaline shot right into one of those thick veins in your arm. And he’s making more of these films, much to the excitement of everyone who has seen either of his first two films. In a new press release this week, PT Merantau Films and XYZ Films announced the start of production on The Raid 2 (Indonesian title The Raid 2: Berandal). If that’s not enough, there are also pictures from the set that we’re more than happy to share.

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What is Movie News After Dark? After a whirlwind of SXSW action, it doesn’t even know anymore. Something about movie news. Interesting links, maybe. There may also be some fart jokes, but we’re trying to keep it classy. Hi, Mom! Also, tonight’s edition will prove how much this column’s author has been watching Cougar Town lately. Like Community‘s Abed Nadir, he would like to live in Cougar Town. We begin tonight with a picture of Katee Sackhoff in Riddick 3 (ooh, la la — for the Battlestar Galactica babe, not another Riddick sequel). She will apparently play the baddie in the Vin Diesel-led film, some sort of alien bounty hunter who is more than meets the eye. Random thought: When are Katee Sackoff and Busy Philipps (Cougar Town reference #1) going to get together and do a sexy twins buddy cop movie? Strong female leads, people. Come on, Hollywood!

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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