I did like the first movie very much, so I expected a much better following…
The first movie was an intense action movie, filled with non stop survival fighting which cumulated into several martial arts uber scenes which we will always remember as part of the martial arts’ movies history. The motivation and the character development were brief, but clear. The script was strong, but it was going only into one direction.
The second movie “The Raid: Berandal” by the young master director Gareth Evans is a new look into the painful and elaborate world of pencak silat (the Indonesian martial art which flows through the movies of Mr. Evans). I would like to congratulate the director on achieving something new – he gave depth to the criminal organization behind the term “bad guys in action movies” which we rarely see in most of the movies from this genre. The script itself is nothing new – Rama (the main hero) goes undercover to avenge and to bring down the whole criminal syndicate which is the “source for all the troubles in the world”.
What I liked though is the way we see evil spawn from one generation to another. It is necessary to point out how Uco is different from his father Bangun. The most interesting thing for me was the expression of Uco’s anger which generated from his lack of moral values and total egotism. We see different generations argue and fight over money, power and other silly things all the time, but it is important to note how the criminal environment can both spoil and bruise a young soul. It is so because the lack of love and compassion is so essential to the corruption of the human soul that it cannot be healed easily. One needs time to be able to reeducate and help. And even the family loses its value to the corrupted person. Thus being lost Uco cannot choose another path, but to end his own family in a disgusting manner. The moral blindness is irrevocable in many cases.
That is why Bangun and Goto have rules – because they are not born criminals. They are not raised by criminals, they had to become criminals. Their part in this story is central because they help us spot the real criminal – the one soul which was born and raised as a criminal. And we all know – nobody is born to be only bad or good. We humans are all conflicted beings. We change, we evolve, we are not constant all the time. But Uco is. He can’t escape his evil confinement because it is bred into him. And that is why Rama succeeds in ruining this whole syndicate – because nothing in life is one-sided. He uses his skills and knowledge to reach his goal – survive and win over them all – people who have rules and loyalty. Some things which Uco didn’t have.
So I think that this was a very good decision – to move the script towards this direction after the first movie.
I’d like to point out also that there were several fight scenes which reminded to me about the ferocity and animality of the first movie. This energy is essential for the success of “The Raid” movies after all…