The Raid 2 ★★★★½

A very solid sequel to The Raid. It's worse in some areas, but easily better in many more. The fight scenes, which were great before, are now in contention for some of the best ever put to film. Seriously. Some of these had me gripping my laptop, eyes wide open, not moving an inch. I was wincing and reacting to the pure, visceral, unadulterated brutality that was put on the screen. Brilliant fight choreography, insane situations, inventive camera movement, a thunderous score. It all comes together to deliver a spectacle like nothing else I've ever seen. I gotta give special mention to the sound design, too. Every bone crunch, glass shatter, heavy punch. baseball bat clink, it adds so much to every fight presented. The mixing is a bit off, but that doesn't even fucking matter when you're so invested in a brawl, does it?

My previous complaint with the first film still lingers here, however. The Raid 2 has a better story than the first, it's tolerable and keeps you at least a little entertained in between the fight scenes, but it's still nothing great. I also feel this movie kind of has mediocre pacing. Not the regular kind of pacing, but rather the balance between story and fights. Oftentimes, it feels like something like half an hour can go by without any significant fight scene, or vice-versa. I swear the final hour of the film is just non-stop action with occasional two minute breaks for some story-related dialogue. It's insane and you don't have time to breath and even though this is an genuine issue I have with the film, I kind of loved it for that. Not trying to giving contradictory statements or anything, I swear.

I think I'd genuinely give the last hour of this film a 5/5, even if it did suffocate me a bit. The rest of it is still damn good for sure, but it definitely saved the best for last.