Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

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— Trey Parker, Orgazmo

MRQE Top Critic

The Great Train Robbery

(review...)

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I probably should be ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t totally resist a brutal action film with a brother/sister team of assailants called Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man.

If you know that director Gareth Evans’ martial arts-oriented thriller is set in Indonesia and you’re familiar with The Raid: Redemption (also directed by Evans), you don’t need much by way of information about this bruising second helping of physical mayhem.

Hammer Girl attacks
Hammer Girl attacks

In The Raid: Redemption, a Jakarta SWAT team stormed a building occupied by ruthless killers. Here, the action spreads across the whole city.

It’s impossible to watch The Raid 2 without feeling as if you’ve been beaten up yourself. The flying fists and lethal kicks arrive with so much fury that it would be a gross understatement to call the action “over the top.”

The main character in this frequently savage concoction is Rama (Iko Uwais), a cop who we met in the first installment. This time, Rama is coerced into taking an undercover assignment as a soldier in the army of a gang lord named Bungun (Tio Pakusodewo).

To accomplish his task, Rama — sent to prison to establish his gangster cred — must win the confidence of Bungun’s son Uco (Arifin Putra).

An ambitious hothead, Uco thinks it’s time for him to replace his father, a crime lord who has fostered an era of peace with his Japanese rival Mr. Goto (Kenichi Endo).

A third gangster, the oily Bejo (Alex Abbad) also wants a piece of the action.

Raid 2 chalks up assaultive accomplishments with piston-like efficiency.

Among its more memorable battles: a fight in a muddy prison yard and a subway confrontation with Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle).

Much of the action is well done, but at a two-and-a-half hour length, it’s difficult not to wonder whether even martial arts fans will find Raid 2 excessive. Alternately bracing and bruising, Raid 2 can be impressive without always being fun.

Put another way: I frequently found myself unsure whether to applaud or beg for mercy.