Now I’m no Mark Kermode (or regional equivalent), but I do love a fucking good film. It’s no secret that Hollywood like to regurgitate past ideas, it’s a far easier process than farting out a new one. That’s easy for me to say of course, because I’m not a screenwriter and if I were, I’d probably be one that ripped off other people’s ideas. With this, it’s no surprise that some of the best films out there nowadays are international flicks. Cinema is still evolving, and people are still plenty inventive. And whilst I can’t speak for everyone here, I’m going to; we’re no longer put off by subtitles because we’re sick of sitting through absolute shite. When did comic book writers become so fucking sought after? Listen to me, the little film snob (getting into character). I actually like most superhero films. Fuck.
I’ll give anything the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cinema. I’ve watched a lot of utter crap, and plenty of good because of this. As a result, I’ve found a few gems. For instance one of my favourite foreign films for years has been Oldboy. It’s so beyond warped, well acted and brutal throughout. What more can a man wish for?
Back in 2012, a Welsh man by the name of Gareth Evans took the world by storm. Bored with the norm, most likely British cinema and the idea of going into Hollywood, he wrote and directed The Raid. It’s an Indonesian film about a man called Rama, a rookie police officer taking on a building of bad motherfuckers. There’s a twisted little society within the building, run by a few nefarious characters. Rama has a take no shit mentality to this, and decides to go for the jugular. He’s a man of justice, in the most brutal of forms. This is without a doubt one of the best little action films I’d seen in years. I felt like a right prick for not seeing it at the cinema. A mistake I didn’t want to make again.
It’s 2014 now, and Gareth Evans has brought Rama back to the big screen. The actor who plays Rama is called Iwo Uwais. He’s a practitioner of Pencak Silat which is an Indonesian Marital Art that is beyond fucking crazy. Christ knows how many have even heard of it, it’s something I’d caught bits and bobs on, on terrible Discovery Channel martial art programmes. There’s tons of stick fighting and knife use, with close quarters combat in-between. Think along the lines of Eskrima/Kali but it clearly takes influence from many other martial arts too, such as Hapkido (Korean), kick boxing, etc. It’s fucking incredible. If I were given the grand honour of translating Indonesian to English, I’d call it Bad Ass Stick Kick Punchfuckery or something along those lines.
Now without giving anything away, The Raid 2 leaves off exactly where The Raid finished. Rama has been given a new mission, and it’s time to really fuck shit up in the criminal underbelly of Indonesia. Now to make a comparison to the first, which I believe you should watch beforehand (although it’s not vital). Really, the first is just a great taster of what’s to come. It’s still better than just about any Hollywood action or martial arts film of the last twenty years, but in comparison to this, it’s fucking Bambi. Never before have I seen a film so inventive with martial arts. The brutalisation and choreography on display are exceptional, whilst delivering a story that manages to be interesting. The first didn’t have much in the way of a story, it was mostly just a spectacle of punch fuckery. This really ups the game, and gives subtle and obvious nods to other films in the same genre. Gareth Evans is clearly an inspired director, and I cannot fucking wait to see this film again, it’s that good. It’s a bone-breaking, jaw-splitting, disemboweling romper stomper. And if you have any love for ‘the arts’, plant your cunt down on a cinema seat as soon as you possibly can.