With “The Raid 2”, Gareth Evans Establishes the Action Franchise of the Decade

A sequel to a great film has to find a Goldilocks zone between two guaranteed recipes for failure. Should the sequel exploit the success of the original and attempt to re-tell the same story, it will feel derivative and add nothing. This is epitomized by The Hangover sequels. At the other end of the spectrum, if a sequel departs completely from the original, it feels isolated and disconnected, leading an audience to feel cheated of what they loved from the originals. The greatest sequels in film history use the characters and world from the originals and expand upon them. Like The Godfather Part II, a great sequel can delve deeper into major characters and explore their motivations outside of their original context from the earlier film. Or, like Aliens, it can utilize the critical component of the original in an entirely new environment or genre of story. The Raid 2, from Gareth Evans, accomplishes both of these feats by taking the Rama character (Iko Uwais, again doubling as the lead fight choreographer) from the original and placing him undercover in pursuit of an organized crime syndicate. Here we get to explore more of Rama’s world and character, and we are rewarded well for our journey.
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