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12-04-2014, 00:33   #91
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I also believe it's naive to think that people are not laughing largely due to the violence - it's human nature to do so.
I think the violence is only a part of the reason though. When I saw the original at JDIFF much of the response was in the vein (no pun intended) of "oooh! aaaahhhhh!" and then laughing at our own reactions. I think it's the portrayal of the violence which is a small but important extinction. I guess what I'm saying is that the bloodshed isn't funny in and of itself, there's always other factors at play.

Those 2 examples you mentioned weren't played for laughs, crucially. More for the shock and awe, the Spoiler: hotplate scene seemed to show Rama's descent too in very brutal terms
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12-04-2014, 11:42   #92
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Saw this last night and, being a HUGE fan of the first, I'm sad to say I was disappointed.

Some have talked about the paper-thin plot - I think the problem was that there was far too much of a focus on the (admittedly thin) plot at times, and it was quite poorly executed. The movie has serious pacing problems as well, there's about a half hour in the middle that felt wholly unnecessary.

I'm surprised I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere, but I thought the fighting scenes were a big step down from the first. I noticed a LOT of sped-up camera shots (a pet hate of mine), almost in every fighting scene - it just made the whole thing look very unnatural. I know this technique is used in a lot of martial arts movies (another poor sequel Ong Bak 2 immediately springs to mind for me), but having seen the first Raid 5 or 6 times, this manipulation of fighting scenes is not something that I would associate with it at all, and it was all the better for it. This was probably the biggest disappointment for me, I don't think anyone was expecting Shakespeare but I thought surely we could rely on some of the excellent, perfectly choreographed and REALISTIC action of the first, and I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible movie - the car chase as mentioned already on this thread is EXCELLENT, and some action scenes still manage to have those "holy sh!t" moments of the first.

I might revisit once more next week before I completely make my mind up (and when expectations are not as high) but for now I don't know who I would recommend this movie to
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12-04-2014, 12:44   #93
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There's just way to much story that nobody gives a crap about between some really short action sequences. It just feels like a hard slog getting from one set piece to the next.
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12-04-2014, 12:49   #94
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There's just way to much story that nobody gives a crap about
Questionable. I quite enjoyed the plot anyway and about half an hour in resigned myself to the fact this'd be a different beast to the original. I think it was bound to alienate people looking for the constant intensity of the original and I actually thought that it made the action stand out even more than it did in the original.
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12-04-2014, 13:11   #95
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Questionable. I quite enjoyed the plot anyway and about half an hour in resigned myself to the fact this'd be a different beast to the original. I think it was bound to alienate people looking for the constant intensity of the original and I actually thought that it made the action stand out even more than it did in the original.
Are you suggesting the scenes in between the set piece action sequences were strong? Surely not?
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12-04-2014, 13:19   #96
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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.
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12-04-2014, 13:22   #97
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Are you suggesting the scenes in between the set piece action sequences were strong? Surely not?
They served their purpose and thus gave the action sequences more heft. I don't think the last 40 minutes would have worked anywhere near as well for me if not for the steady build-up.

Is the drama Godfather level? Nope. Is it more than adequate enough to drive the action sequences forward? Definitely.

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12-04-2014, 13:52   #98
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I disliked the first as the action was just too repetitive and non-stop. I appreciated the action parts more in this film as they weren't just thrown at you scene after scene. This is pure comic book stuff but i enjoyed the characters in this and the film was much more balanced than the utterly ridiculous part one.
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12-04-2014, 14:33   #99
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You're probably right and i'm probably being a little harsh calling it crap, but it felt a little ham fisted and too drawn out. For me it ran at least 20 mins to long and caught myself checking my watch more than once.
As i said last night I'll be picking it up on blue ray when it comes out and will give it another chance then.

Spoiler: I loved the three video game boss characters. The girl with the hammers and the dude with the baseball bat and of course the main boss battle at the end. It really felt like he was working his way through the two mini bosses to the main boss. What a fight it was!
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12-04-2014, 15:32   #100
 
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Saw it in Cineworld on Parnell St. last night. There seemed to be some audio lag in some scenes. Not very noticeable with a foreign language film, but VERY noticeable with that small karaoke scene.
The subtitles leave much to be desired, with several grammatical errors and sentences that go nowhere.

The action far outweights this though, several very brutal fight scenes and the last scene was just fantastic.

I don't know if I'll ever watch this again though. I think it's a film that only works in a cinema, where the audience can collectively moan, groan and applaud.
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12-04-2014, 17:49   #101
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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.
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12-04-2014, 18:12   #102
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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.
I'm basing my thoughts on what I've heard from friends and the general consensus is that the plot is simplistic and familiar yet doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not excusing any film the lack of a plot though I am happy to concede that sometimes a film doesn't need an intricate or layered story and as such I'm happy to forgive a film such as the Raid 2 it's shortcomings in that department.

Pacific Rim failed because the story was so generic and the action wasn't all that enticing. There was a sense of spectacle but after a few minutes it jest felt overtly familiar and the themes storytelling were dull. It was pretty much Robot Jox with a nicer sheen.

The Raid worked because it didn't need a complicated story, it's strongest point was the linear but well defined plot. There was a sense of urgency to it that helped paper over the cracks. Re-watching the Raid and I don't throw ir on for anything other than entertainment, I'm not watching it for the storytelling or the performances but rather the set pieces. As such I can forgive the sequel if the plotting is haphazard and familiar as long as the set pieces are well handled and impress.

The action genre is one that's bereft of genuinely interesting story telling. It's a shame that it's so creatively ignored and that our expectations can be met with a little well shot action, acting that isn't wooden and a plot that's even the smallest bit interesting.

I re-watched The Joshua Tree a few weeks back and was surprised by how much time was invested in the plot. It was refreshing and added a certain heft to the action when it did occur. Lundgren is actually one of the few action stars who invests a little time in plotting his films, the ones he wrote and direct himself are generally more interested in what drives the characters than cheap spectacle. I'm curious as to see what he does with his upcoming films with Tony Jaa as alongside Evans, Lundgren is one of the more interesting people working in the genre.
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12-04-2014, 19:27   #103
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I'm definitely going back in the next week, the film packed such a wallop that I'm still processing a day later. Honestly the only niggles to me were in a second act that had to basically reset the story to 0 and introduce a new cast of characters. Some pacing issues there for sure but crucially it all paid off tenfold for me.

But those first and last acts, ****ing wow. The way Evans builds up to the first fight is nothing short of masterful and that section of the film has such a remarkable climax, throwing the audience into the muck both literally and metaphorically. I struggle to think of an American action film that had such a visceral effect on me. It seems that some here were mixed over the film but I felt so elated after it ended.

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12-04-2014, 20:14   #104
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Having now watched this, I can understand some of the disappointment, because you really have to judge two aspects of the film separately and evaluate how much weight you're going to ascribe to each.

On the one hand, you've got the action sequences - while they don't dominate the running time as much as in the first film, they're easily as inventive and showcasing as much inventiveness as in the first film (albeit with some more obvious visual effects work).

On the other hand, you've got the sprawling crime story being told along the way - which is functional though fairly familiar territory, but clashes somewhat in pacing terms with the rest of the film. The pace shifts could be forgiven were this story more distinctive or original, but as it stands I felt that rather too much of it was trying for a slow-burn buildup that didn't really work during the second act.

I wanted a film that recaptured the visceral excitement and pure joy that the first film delivered - and during the first and third acts, The Raid 2 delivered. The second act was a bit disappointing, but not irretrievably so - and certainly not enough to stop me from being glued to my seat for the third act. And I do think that whatever flaws the sequel has, Evans and his team deserve credit for not merely attempting to retread the same territory as the first film (eg "now they're in a 16-floor carpark" or "this time the building is underground" or some such bollockery).

I may well see this at the cinema a second time, and will definitely be buying a copy on DVD. I suspect it'll be one of those films where the best way to enjoy it will turn out to be a fanedit that trims the fat and better balances the pacing throughout.

I've gone back and re-read the rogerebert.com review since seeing the film, and I still can't help feel that it's a review which can't discern what the potential audience for this film is looking for in films. (I know everyone has their blind spots, but I find it fascinating that Ebert could give Avatar a 4-star rating and a positively glowing review, and then give The Raid: Redemption a 1-star review and an excoriating review....)

Last edited by Fysh; 12-04-2014 at 20:22.
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12-04-2014, 22:22   #105
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Firstly, came for martial arts/action. Got truckloads of both. It'll probably be The Raid 3 before we see anything like that level of uncompromising action again.

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...and while the scope is admirable it was just to difficult for me to ignore the atrocious acting and paper thin plot. I know it's not meant to be about the story but when so much of the running time is taken up with it, it's hard to ignore.
I really enjoyed the film but I think criticism of the plot has to be entertained given the ammount of time devoted to it. It's not enough this time to say "it's an action movie so the plot doesn't matter". That's a cop-out given that you probably had well over an hour devoted purely to that plot. With the original so little screen time was given over to it that it would not have been a valid argument then but that doesn't hold for the sequel.

A parallel I'd draw would be Elite Squad where you had a balls-out action movie the first time and a lot more intricate political elements were added the second time with great success because crucially José Padilha was able to deliver the goods on both counts resulting in a balanced, well rounded film.

In spite of the meandering nature of the plot and the pacing issues the action scenes were just immensely satisfying with no quarter given to the censors or any attempt to blunt the action to get a lower certificate (I'm looking at you tin man). I thought the cinematography/composition was better in some places than the original but weaker in others - there was lots of cutting during the fights this time compared to part I but they had a much richer visual canvas to play with this time which they made great use of - there were many potential wallpapers in there!

There are certainly faults and things you could criticise but ultimately I just don't care after all it had to give.
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