The Raid 2 Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara. Directed by Gareth Evans. Rated R. Opens Friday.
Two years ago, The Raid: Redemption (which sounded like a sequel, but wasn’t) offered action fans an entire movie’s worth of nothing but nonstop ass-kicking, proving that even kinetic awesomeness can become wearisome when it’s served up without any modulation whatsoever. Now along comes an actual sequel, The Raid 2, which runs nearly two and a half hours and attempts to add a narrative that’s more than skeletal. Characters, plot and atmosphere still aren’t really director Gareth Evans’ thing, but if the film’s occasional lulls aren’t especially interesting for their own sake, they at least offer a necessary respite that allows the bone-breaking violence to register with more, uh, impact.
Iko Uwais returns as Rama, the cop who single-handedly defeated an entire building full of baddies last time. Having survived that ordeal, he’s now been forced to go undercover, making friends with a crime boss’ son (Arifin Putra) in prison in order to infiltrate the syndicate. But this is all just a flimsy excuse for another series of alarmingly brutal combat sequences, in which Rama constantly finds new and inventive ways to cause compound fractures and arterial bleeding. If overkill is your thing, here’s more of it.