"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
"The Raid 2," a martial arts epic so ultraviolent and spectacular it arrives almost as a surprise in American theaters, will surprise no one who saw its predecessor, "The Raid: Redemption," with its audacity and ferocity. However, if you missed out on everyone's favorite Indonesian shoot-'em-up cop classic in 2011, then you might need a bit of a primer on the sequel. A movie this dangerous, in fact, could really use a feature-length disclaimer.
WARNING: "The Raid 2" is unsafe to view if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, may impregnate someone, or were born as the result of a pregnancy.
Do not see "The Raid 2" if you are allergic to the sight of blood spraying, blood pooling in snow, blood rushing out of freshly cut necks, bones snapping like celery, heads getting pounded against hard surfaces, faces getting pressed onto hot surfaces, bullets zipping into moving vehicles, people getting shot, people getting ripped apart with blades, people getting unzipped with claw hammers, bodies being dumped into public water supplies, or peanuts.
Avoid "The Raid 2" if you are not keen on subtitles. With all there is to see on-screen, your eye may miss some of the finer plot points and names. Alternatively, you can buff up your Indonesian ahead of time.
Reconsider seeing "The Raid 2" if you are claustrophobic, germophobic or hew to the immaculate. The movie picks up two hours after the previous film left off, and is decidedly more convoluted in its presentation. Iko Uwais, the main cop from the first "Raid," is back, this time under extremely deep cover. He moves to get close to a nefarious crime lord by getting thrown in prison and befriending the man's son (Arifin Putra). This leads to a couple of memorably intense combat scenes: One in a bathroom stall and one medieval riot in a Javanese prison yard in a soft-serve morass of mud. Brutality and filth ensue.
"The Raid 2" should not be seen by children, unless their parents are away for at least 2.5 hours, because the movie is long and those parents would be shocked to see most of the insane fight scenes, such as the one where an old assassin has to fight his way out of a nightclub using only fists, furniture and the occasional broken bottle, or the one in which our undercover hero and his adopted gang have to shoot their way out of a botched shakedown of a putrid pornography den.
The makers of "The Raid 2" cannot be held responsible if, after watching several people beaten to death with a metal baseball bat, you never see America's pastime quite the same way again.
In brutality and ambition, "The Raid 2" will make other action movies seem pusillanimous by comparison. Director/writer Gareth Evans clearly is attempting to craft an organized crime movie with the intergenerational pathos of "The Godfather" with a typhoon of top-quality hand-to-hand combat, sick car chases and operatic death sequences. There is no shame in falling shy of "The Godfather" when a filmmaker succeeds in his other goals. So you've been warned: You may want to watch it a second time.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!