The film was released on 28 March 2014. It follows special forces officer Rama as he is sent undercover to expose the corrupt police officials colluding with the crime families of Jakarta's criminal underworld. Where the events of the first film take place within a day, the second film is set over a span of several years. Like Evans' previous films Merantau and The Raid, the fight scenes showcase the Indonesian fighting style of Pencak Silat.
Iko Uwais reprises his role as Rama. The film also stars Arifin Putra, Julie Estelle, Alex Abbad, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, and Cecep A. Rahman. The film also features Japanese actors such as Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, and Kazuki Kitamura. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics worldwide, Stage 6 Films in the United States, and Entertainment One in the United Kingdom.
The film opens with Bejo, a self-made Jakarta crime boss, executing Rama's brother Andi at a sugar cane field for being too ambitious and not knowing "limitation" after taking over from Tama, a local gang boss who operated under Bangun.
Following the disastrous raid on Tama's apartment in The Raid, Rama meets with Lieutenant Bunawar, the head of an internal investigation unit, who sends the injured Bowo to be treated but has Lt. Wahyu promptly executed. Bunawar assures the startled Rama it was to protect his life from "crooked cops like him." He tells Rama, who wanted to testify, the courts can't fix the problem; it would only endanger him and his family. He asks him to go undercover to expose the backroom dealings of Reza and other police officials with the Bangun and Goto crime syndicates. Rama declines, but eventually agrees for his family's safety after Andi is murdered by Bejo. That happens months later as Rama consoles his wife Isa – who was pregnant in the first film – who's now given birth to their boy Angga.
Bunawar tasks him to infiltrate the underworld befriending Uco, son of Bangun and heir to his criminal empire. Taking on the alias "Yuda," he is told to assault the son of the politician responsible for putting Uco in prison, so Bunawar can arrest him so he may befriend the incarcerated Uco. What was supposed to be a few months sentence is instead 3 years. A year into his term, a prison riot breaks out in the raining muddy courtyard as several assailants attempt to kill Uco. They were led by Benny, an associate of Uco's who betrays his trust, before Yuda ultimately saves Uco's life. When Yuda is released two years later, Uco picks him up to meet his father, who hires him as gratitude. He quickly proves his value to the crime family, earning their trust through his work under Uco and his father's consigliere Eka.
It's soon apparent Uco is increasingly frustrated with his limited role in the organization, and is tipped over the edge when he's called a "debt collector" by a karaoke bar girl. When Uco exits the room for a phone call, Rama plants a bug in Uco's wallet. Bangun is next seen meeting with Prakoso, a loyal hitman who's been with the family since Uco was a child. Prakoso is estranged from his wife and son for almost 15 years, but uses his vagabond image to advantage as he assassinates another one of Bangun's targets.
Capitalizing on Uco's angst, Bejo invites him to dinner at his restaurant. He speaks of ambition, and lets Uco know he has his eye on some land controlled by the Gotos; sharing rumours of a Japanese plot to turn Reza and other high brass against his father. Bejo brings out the assailants from the prison riot, who Uco proceeds to kill before noticing a distinctive gang tattoo on Benny's wrist. The duo hatch a plot to start a gang war to disrupt the truce between the two families, allowing Uco to prove himself to Bangun, and Bejo to profit from the chaos, as they carve up Hideaki Goto's territory. Uco lures Prakoso into an ambush at a nightclub, where he's ultimately killed by The Assassin, then lies to his father the Japanese were responsible. Failing to sway Bangun into a counterattack, the frustrated Uco phones Bejo to "Just do it" anyway. Bejo's elite hitmen – the deaf-mute Hammer Girl, her brother Baseball Bat Man, and The Assassin – proceed to kill several of Goto's men, sparking a gang war between the families.
In the escalating conflict, Rama is attacked. He defeats the assailants only to discover a police ID on one of the attackers. When the families meet to reconcile, Uco lashes out in anger, embarrassing Bangun into an important territory concession. Shaken after maiming other policemen, Rama calls Lt. Bunawar and learns the attackers were Reza's corrupt cops sent after him as part of the war. He then receives a call from Eka to save Uco. Bangun beats Uco harshly on their return to his office. While Yuda is on the way, Bejo and The Assassin barge their way in with a mob of henchmen. Revealing his betrayal, Uco kills his father and shoots Eka in the leg. Before Bejo can finish him off, Yuda arrives and stalls as Eka flees. The Assassin subdues the already-exhausted Rama, and Bejo commands his men to get rid of him. Eka follows, leading to a highway chase and several destroyed vehicles, before rescuing Yuda and driving to safety in an abandoned area.
Ryuichi, Goto's consigliere, informs him and Keichi that Reza was seen entering Bejo's restaurant. The outraged Goto tells Ryuichi to "take care of him" before Ryuichi interrupts to tell him Bejo's not alone, informing him of Uco's betrayal of his father. Goto declares war against Bejo and Uco, and Reza too. When his son Keichi interjects, Goto responds "They're not cops anymore. They're in my world now." A bleeding and exhausted Eka tells Rama "I know where you're from," revealing he too was undercover. Voicing his disillusionment on the harsh realities of crime in Jakarta, "There's no end to this [...] If you want out, you put them down, all of them." Later at night, Rama calls Lt. Bunawar, who informs him the gang war had escalated, with even the police commissioner shot dead. Bunawar claims Eka "went rogue" and "cost the lives of 10 honest cops when he fed us bad intel." He informs him that Reza, the true objective, is meeting Bejo and Uco at the restaurant. Rama breaches the restaurant warehouse fighting his way through Bejo's men.
Bejo and Uco meet with Reza to discuss terms against Goto. Still shaken from his patricide act, Uco discovers the bug in his wallet while in the restroom. Uncertain who planted it, he later notices Bejo has the same wrist tattoo as Benny, suggesting the prison attack may have been another attempt to spark a gang war. Uco sits silent in shock as he realizes he's been used. Rama fights and defeats Bejo's three hitmen after word reached Bejo he had entered the premises. Rama disrupts the meeting carrying The Assassin's pair of karambit, while Bejo attempts to shoot him with a shotgun. Uco grabs another gun shooting Reza dead, then shoots Bejo, before turning his gun towards Rama who throws the karambit at Uco then stabs him with the other. Uco dies in his arms. A wounded and exhausted Rama limps away from the premises where he encounters Keichi, Ryuichi and their men entering the warehouse sent to attack the meeting. While Lt. Bunawar drives en route to the site, Keichi smirks as he shares a silent dialogue with Rama. The film ends with Rama saying "No...I'm done."
Other cast members include Henky Solaiman and Fikha Effendi, who reprise their roles as Rama's father and wife Isa, respectively. Veteran actors Deddy Sutomo and Pong Hardjatmo make cameos as the mediator and police commissioner, respectively.
Following Merantau, director Gareth Evans and his producers began to work on a project called Berandal (which is Indonesian for "thugs"), a large-scale prison gang film intended to star not only Merantau actors Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, but also an additional pair of international fight stars. A teaser trailer was shot, but the project proved to be more complex and time consuming than they had anticipated. After a year and a half, Evans and the producers found themselves with insufficient funds to produce Berandal, so they changed to a simpler, but different story with a smaller budget. They called the project Serbuan Maut (The Raid), which led to the creation of the first film.
While developing The Raid in script form, Evans considered the idea of creating a link between it and the initial project, Berandal. Following the release of The Raid, it was later confirmed that Berandal would serve as a sequel to The Raid. Evans also said that he wanted to include car chases in the sequel, as well as a third Raid film being "a lot further down the line."
With the title for the North American market announced as The Raid 2, the sequel has a "significantly larger" budget than its predecessor, and its production schedule took approximately 100 days. Pre-production began in September 2012 with filming in January 2013.
Casting and filming
In December 2012, Twitch confirmed that Julie Estelle was cast as "Hammer Girl"; Evans also tweeted that internationally renowned silat practitioner Cecep Arif Rahman was also given a major part in the film. Marsha Timothy, Mathias Muchus, Tio Pakusadewo, and Alex Abbad, who worked with Evans in Merantau, were also cast in the film. Japanese actors Matsuda Ryuhei, Endo Kenichi, and Kitamura Kazuki also joined the cast.
Evans also revealed on his Twitter that Yayan Ruhian, who played Mad Dog in The Raid, will return for the sequel as a new character called Prakoso, the machete-wielding chief assassin of Bangun. He claimed that he would not do a martial arts film without Ruhian being involved. Ruhian, who is a choreographer of the film, also trained Estelle in pencak silat.
In January 2013, PT Merantau Films and XYZ Films announced the start of production. The filming process took about seven months and ended in July 2013.
The film's lead cinematographer Matt Flannery tweeted that at least three RED cameras were used in a test shoot of a chase scene. Gareth Evans mentioned on his Twitter that they were using RED Scarlet for 95% of the shoot, Epic for slow mo, and Go Pro 3 for quick cuts during the car chase.
A teaser trailer was released at Twitch Film on 6 November 2013. The Hollywood Reporter stated that the trailer "unleashes more action than most Hollywood blockbusters."
A longer Indonesian trailer was released on 31 December 2013. The American trailer was released on 21 January 2014.
On 26 March 2014, a deleted scene from the film titled "Gang War" was released to promote the film.
The film was marketed internationally through Celluloid Nightmares, a partnership between US-based XYZ Films and France's Celluloid Dreams.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired the film's distribution rights for the United States, Latin America and Spain; and Kadokawa Pictures for Japan. Distribution rights to other countries were sold to eOne Entertainment for Canada and the United Kingdom; Koch Media for Germany, Switzerland and Austria; Calinos Films for Turkey; HGC for China; and Madman Entertainment for Australia.
The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on 21 January 2014. It also screened at South by Southwest on 10 March 2014 and ARTE Indonesia Arts Festival on 14 March 2014. Following a wide release on 11 April 2014, due to low returns the majority of theaters closed the film one week later. This was similar to what occurred during the theatrical run of the first film.
The Raid 2 was banned in neighboring Malaysia. The film was scheduled to hit Malaysian screens on 28 March, but had not been shown anywhere in the country due to its excessive violence. Indonesian politician, and former Army Chief of Staff, Pramono Edhie Wibowo criticized the decision and demanded an explanation. He further asked the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to "actively perform its mediation function with the Malaysian government."
The US release was given an R rating by the MPAA for "strong bloody violence throughout, sexuality and language", cutting a few frames of graphic violence. Director Evans stated the cuts are very minimal and similar to his original cut. The film received an R-15 rating in Japan with 4 minutes cut, and an R-18 uncut version which was screened in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The Raid 2 has received positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 79% approval rating, with an average score of 7.4/10, based on reviews from 160 critics. The site's consensus states: "Although its high-energy plot and over-the-top violence may play better with genre aficionados, The Raid 2 definitely delivers more of everything audiences loved about its predecessor." The film has a score of 71/100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 33 critics.
During its world premiere at Sundance, The Raid 2 received an overwhelming reaction. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times reported that "The screening caused an explosion of excitement and enthusiasm for the film on social media."
In a 3-out-of-5 mixed review, Joey Magidson of the website Awards Circuit wrote that he "appreciate(s) the directing skills on display in The Raid 2, but at a certain point, all of the fighting and killing nearly got to be too much for me. I’m recommending the film, but not in the same way as the last one." He added that while it is "creative enough to be worth a recommendation, it lacks the originality of the first flick" and concluded that "The Raid 2 will delight genre fans, but might not impress to many others."
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly said, "The Raid 2 will make you feel like Christmas came nine months early. Some action sequels don't know when to say when. But here's one where too much is just the right amount."
Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com praised the film for its "involving plot"; calling the cast, especially Uwais, "charming" and dialogue "winningly precise" while noting that the sequel is "a great step up after the already-impressive The Raid."
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, remarking, "Evans gives the audience a knowing wink by having Rama endure repeated batterings that would leave mere mortals in traction, not to mention some nasty blade wounds. Yet he keeps coming back, finding the stamina to snap more limbs and crush more skulls. Taking place inside moving vehicles, a subway car, a noodle bar, warehouses, a porn factory, tight corridors and in the most electrifying mano-a-mano clash, a gleaming nightclub kitchen and wine cellar, the fights are dynamite."
Rolling Stone chief critic Peter Travers wrote, "The Raid 2 lets its warriors rip for two and a half thrilling hours. With the precision of dance and the punch of a K.O. champion, Evans keeps the action coming like nobody's business."
Many have praised the film for matching the action sequences that made the first film so great, as well as improving upon the plot and the dialogue, which its predecessor was criticized for.
Amber Wilkinson of The Daily Telegraph commented, "Hyper-violent it may be but there is beauty in its brutality," and wrote, "To say a martial arts movie brings something fresh in terms of choreography may sound like fighting talk, but Gareth Evans's sequel to his 2011 film is endlessly inventive."
Matt Risley of Total Film gave the film 5 stars and wrote: "Sumptuously shot, perfectly paced and flat-out exhilarating, The Raid 2 cements Evans as the best action director working today and may not be the best action, gangster, or even martial-arts movie ever made. But as a combination of all three, it's unparalleled in recent memory and offers a tantalising glimpse into a post-Bayhem action-movie world. Brutal, beautiful and brilliant" and also wrote, "The sheer imagination on show, both in the cinematography and choreography, guarantees each brawl is instantly iconic. Immaculately edited, each traumatic, tensely tactile fight would blur into chaos if not for Evans's pinpoint pacing something that refreshes all the more in the face of modern blockbusting's tendency to start big and just keep getting bigger, until burnout."
The film appeared on several critics' year-end lists.#07 – IMDb's "Top 10 Films of 2014"
#10 – Drew McWeeny of HitFix's "Top 50 Films of 2014"
#10 – DenOfGeek.com's "Top 10 Films of 2014"
#14 – Rob Hunter of Film School Rejects's "14 Best Foreign Language Films of 2014"
#02 – Peter Freeman of DCOutlook.com's "Top 10 Movies of 2014"
The Raid 2 has garnered a number of nominations and wins from both domestic and international awards.
On 19 December 2014, it won the award for Best Foreign Language Film from the Florida Film Critics Circle over Sweden's Force Majeure and Poland's Ida; a first for an Indonesian film. It also received two nominations at the 2014 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, for Best Stunts, and Best Foreign Language Film; losing the former to Edge of Tomorrow and the latter to Polish film, Ida. Another nomination came from the 2014 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards on the Best Foreign Language Film category, which it lost to Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure from Sweden. For the 8th Houston Film Critics Society Awards, it also received a nomination in the foreign film category, again losing to Force Majeure.
The film received 10 nominations at the local 2014 Maya Awards, organized by online film community Piala Maya. On 20 December 2014, it won four of its ten nominations: Best Cinematography for Matt Flanery and Dimas Subono, Best Editing for Evans and Andi Novianto, Best Special Effects, and Best Supporting Actor for Arifin Putra. It was also nominated for Best Film, Best Original Score, Most Memorable Featured Appearance for Julie Estelle as 'The Hammer Girl' (all three lost to Cahaya dari Timur); Best Hair & Make-Up and Best Sound Mixing (both lost to Killers), as well as another nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for Oka Antara (who lost to co-star Arifin Putra).
There were a number of scenes deleted from the final cut that made it to wide release. Some of these deleted scenes were published by Merantau Films on their YouTube page. These following scenes, however, are not equipped with proper sound editing and special effects.Gang War was released prior to the film's release and "served to escalate the gang war out onto the streets involving people outside of the closed off inter-gang politics." Evans commented of this particular deleted scene as "the hardest for [him] to cut" and explained that the reasons to cut the scene were "entirely down to pacing issues." No characters that appeared in the final cut were seen in this scene.
Investigation contains "an extended version of the scene with Bunawar helping to clear Rama's name and remove him from the equation of what went down in The Raid." Andi (Donny Alamsyah) is seen in this scene leading his men to hand-deliver the armoured truck to Bunawar's office to "reinforce the relationship hinted at in The Raid."
A Funeral and Bowo was intended as an "extension of the funeral scene, with an added explanation of what happened to Bowo (one of the surviving members of the SWAT Team in The Raid."
The Politician's Son depicts Rama (as Yuda) beating a politician's son at a night club which, in the final cut, was only mentioned as the reason for his imprisonment at the beginning of the film. Former MTV personality Daniel Mananta was seen in this scene as someone introducing Yuda to a 'boss'.
The Marketplace was deleted due to "pacing reasons"; containing a scene set at a local market in which Rama (still undercover) checked up on his wife and son from afar before leaving them unseen.
Prakoso Getting Ready was a "small scene to show Prakoso's home and a different side to his character away from his role as executioner." On the reason for the deletion, it is said that "The concept was to show a fragility and a vulnerability in him, but [they] felt this was already achieved by Yayan's performance in the scene with his ex-wife."
On 6 January 2014, Total Film reported that The Raid 3 will take place two hours before the end of The Raid 2. On 19 April 2014, during an interview with Metro, director Evans said that he is planning to take a break from martial arts movies for two or three years before filming it. The Raid 3 was planned for a 2018 or 2019 release.
However, in a 21 November 2016 interview with Impact Online, director Evans revealed the sequel was on hold with the franchise likely having ended, stating "Moving back to UK felt like a closing chapter on that franchise – we ended the story pretty neatly (I feel) in Part 2. I'm aware there's an interest for it [...] So never say never, but it's unlikely to happen anytime soon."