When you have a list of characters with names such as Hammer Girl, The Assassin and Baseball Bat man, you just know this isn’t going to be an intellectual drama.
What it is, in fact, is a sequel to the very successful 2011 movie, not surprisingly called The Raid.
The surprising bit is that this new franchise is directed by a Welshman, Gareth Evans, who made a home in Indonesia and has come up with these two very tough action movies starring the remarkably agile Iko Uwais.
It also helps that along with the stylistic fight scenes, we had a decent plot and some rather good acting in the original.
This latest film follows hard on the heels of the first film, in which rookie Jakarta cop Rama fought gangsters and madmen in a high rise building.
Having left behind him a rather large bodycount, he now faces the gangster hierarchy and is persuaded to go undercover to track down rogue police officers.
The problem is that many of the factors that made the first film so good have been pushed too far in this sequel.
There’s an almost defined cut-off point where the extreme violence turns from off-camera to no holds barred.
Overall, there seem to be even more fights, even more gore and even more weird characters. However, more isn’t always better and after one particularly unpleasant scene there were distinct groans from the audience,
You have to admit that the director is a class act, with some great ideas and very clever touches.
One scene in the rain and mud in a prison courtyard is inspired.
For about two-thirds of the movie this is on a par with the first one but that final third is simply too much.
Too much in terms of time - this is a very long movie, too much for violence - hammers are never a good thing in films and too much in terms of plot - I ended up not really caring who got killed.
You also need to watch the first film as this really does just flow on, although some of the remaining characters from the original are rather curtly disposed of.
It’s all set up for a another sequel but let’s hope lessons are learned from this one to get the franchise back on track,
Film details: The Raid 2 (18) 150mins
Director: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle,
Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley