The Raid 2
Among the many pleasures of The Raid 2 is the way that it recreates the bone-crunching “karate horror” of the low-budget 2011 original, while simultaneously expanding its universe into a languorous crime epic. The show-stopping fight sequences are if anything amplified here, and mostly get announced with a slow-building, operatic fanfare worthy of a Sergio Leone gunfight. Writer-director Gareth Evans' ballsy vision suggests that he also has the chops to direct romantic comedies, costume dramas and jukebox musicals where everyone beats the living shit out of each other. Evans and star Iko Uwais stage these hyperbolic hand-to-hand combat sequences with a ruthless, almost hallucinatory perfection—this is what a Busby Berkeley movie would have looked like had he been a sadist instead of a pervert—and the demonic glee that Evans feels in unpacking his model train set of cinematic influences is palpable.