Originally Posted by Darko
Honestly, if you're watching a film like the Raid 2 for the story then you're doing it wrong. The Raid had a story so wafer thin that it would crumble in your hand, it was a setup there simply to craft a number of set pieces and that's what made it such a joy. Part 2 needed to do something a little more and while I've yet to see it I hope that the story is a little more substantial. Even if the story is poor I can forgive that as long as the set pieces are good.
I hate this argument, because it's misrepresenting what the complaints actually are (and I'm speaking generally here, as I haven't had a chance to watch The Raid 2 yet). If a writer or director forces me to sit through an hour or more of perfunctory plot to get to the main attraction, then I haven't done anything wrong, said writer / director has. There's no reason whatsoever that the plot and
the action can't be up to scratch. And if that's not achievable, focus on one or the other and play to your strengths.
I've seen a few comparisons between this and Drug War - that's a strong example of a film that delivers on the memorable action will also delivering a strong (if slightly convoluted) narrative with actual satire and social commentary. The film earns its action setpieces, but also doesn't feel like an inconvenience when the bullets aren't flying. Or something like Evangelion - amazing action, but also fascinating themes and storytelling. Compare it to Pacific Rim (and I'm well aware that film has plenty of supporters, this is all IMO of course) - there's an utterly vapid, poorly told story I have to endure for lengthy periods of time before getting to the good stuff. It's a big, big ask for the reward (and even that was minimal, again IMO). To me, that's what differentiates it as a bad film with some good bits as opposed to a good film with some bad bits. I doubt anyone would praise The Raid 1's plotting - but there was a film that knew its limitations, and focused on what it did well while ensuring the film wasn't simply a relentless series of action scenes. Even without having seen the second film yet, I can see how people feel an epic scale is ill-fitting especially if it isn't handled with particular aplomb - not to dismiss Evans' ambitions to make something a little bit more engaged (it's certainly admirable) but The Raid 1 was about as impressively no-nonsense as action films get, with just enough focus on characters and story to keep everything moving.
Even dumb action films require some sort of plot - to ensure it's not all just an adrenaline rush, and make the action mean something (or just go '**** it' and be Crank, but Crank is Crank!). But that doesn't excuse bad storytelling, and if a director is going to make me sit through a heavily plotted film then it's their duty to make it interesting, not for us to ignore or forgive any failures in that regard even if the action completely delivers. I look forward to finding out myself how Evans has managed it tomorrow.