Disclaimer: NSFW. I don’t think I will be able to do this movie justice without saying anything inappropriate. And by inappropriate, I really mean not safe for work. Because this post will cover the action porn, the violently charming male debauchery, along with all the subtle innuendo and bromance(s). It’s a blog of a bluntly honest fangirl (for better or worse), after all. You’ve been warned.
Two hour after the first Raid ended, Rama (Iko Uwais) left his brother Andi (Donny Alamsyah) and join Jakarta’s Anti-Corruption Task Force. Bunawar (Cok Kumbara) fabricated his report and covered Rama’s involvement to protect the rookie and his family. In return, he sent Rama on an undercover mission to infiltrate a criminal syndicate led by Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo). This led to him willingly being an inmate so he can befriend Uco (Arifin Putra), Bangun’s one and only son. Everything become tad too complicated, however, when an ambitiously cunning gangster called Bejo (Alex Abbad) was thrown into the mix.
Holy shit. You really could not appreciate this movie without throwing praises to high heaven or, in stark contrast, emptied out your stack of curses. Because fuck, man, Berandal was bloody gorgeous, and it practically left me feeling insatiable. Because even after all those kickass fighting scenes, after choking my heart out over the oh-so-subtle bromance(s), after crooning in appreciation over the eye-candies, I still want more. More bloods, more fights, more moments, more beautiful badassery. I was breathlessly spent once the credit title rolled, and yet I still can’t get enough.
I’m not saying that this was perfect, because in all brutal honesty, it was far from it. But it was pleasantly well done. To me, at least. I love how it started out eerily calm, with a short but impactful introduction of a certain villain with this air of tranquil insanity around him. And only after the penny is in the air, does Gareth let loose of the reign so we can immersed ourselves and indulge in those fighting binge. With a little drama on the side. Because if Redemption was “all tension, fuck the story”, Berandal have the decency to at least tell a tale – albeit a cliched tale that would easily fall on the “Well done, son” slash “Inadeqaute Inheritor” trope. Still, the effort was much appreciated.
There were far more characters in Berandal than in Redemption, and it was a nice relief to see that most of them have their own respective memorable scenes. Most. The lack of exposure for the Goto Family simply undo the whole “This peace is much needed because they’re too powerful” and “Fuck we need to eradicate them because they’re a dangerous threat” fuss. Because, seriously, I don’t see the big deal about them. Side eye to whoever it is that erased Kazuki’s shooting-in-the-escalator scene because I fell at the first sight for that scene, you git! Also, even if the story was more or less passable, it left quite a lot of gaping holes in the character development department. There aren’t a lot of development for anyone, unless maybe Uco – who could’ve easily fell into the plot device category. Plus, a little back story wouldn’t hurt anybody. Instead, it would have put more emphasis on each characters and their importance. Most of Berandal’s character looks like they’re just there to make the scene pretty with their splendid martial arts skill. I didn’t even know that baseball bat man and hammer girl were siblings until I checked Berandal’s Wikipedia page, goddammit.
Continuing on that note, however, most of the actors (and actress) were passable. I mean, it’s kinda hard not to pass as a character when most of the time you just need put on a brooding look or kick everyone’s balls in some complicated moves. But then again, Berandal is an action movie, and all you really need to establish your character is an unique weapon of choice and how you wield it. Like Cecep Arif Rahmas as the Assassin. Or my personal favorite, Very Tri Yulisman as Baseball Bat Man. Kudos to Arifin Putra and his terrific performance as Uco, though. It was nice to see him grow from a whiny Draco Malfoy-esque heir into the cold world dominator type. Especially since that got him away from the neon “Plot Device” sign. Alex Abbad was also more than good as the typical Big Bad, but I will let it pass because he portray my favorite type of evil in such ease. Iko Uwais on the other hand, have this depressed angsty looks most of the time, which is sorta kinda tiring to look at.
I’m also a bit bothered with the amount of cringe worthy awkwardness from the dialogue. “Awasi aku”? Are you for real? I almost choked from the lack of proper wording. Not to mention that there were some scenes where I just can’t understand what they’re talking about – when they’re talking in Indonesian. My native language. Now that’s just plain wrong. Last but not least, the names. I mean, I know Gareth is probably using Indonesian name to enhance the whole “Indonesian feel”, but I really does not think mob bosses and gangster will gladly called themselves “Bangun” or “Bejo” or “Uco”. It’s just… the images clashed so bad it made me dizzy. And for me, it tone the intimidation down far more than a notch.
Yet, I would gladly let it all go, willingly pretend that all of those negative points does not exist because The Raid 2: Berandal was that good. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, a thrilling extreme rides that will make you giddy and happy. Just look at all the action scenes. Man, that alone would make me purr in content. The scale of the story enable Gareth to pick various playground for Yayan and Iko to have fun on with the help of Bruce Law, Yee Man Law, and Larnell Stovall. Not to mention those weapon of choices – I still could not get the sound of aluminium baseball bat hitting it’s target out of my head because it’s so sinful it got me shivering in delight. And the car chase. Bloody hell, how they could actually utilize such small space to create such stunning choreograph is beyond my comprehension. Plus point from using familiar props and places (Blok M terminal, anyone?). Props to Matt Flannery, Dimas Imam, and Subhono for those gorgeous camera shot, and to the pleasing music by Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese, and Fajar Yuskemal.
Now this will start to sounded a little off topic, and most wouldn’t have notice or might be bothered with what I’m about to write. Once again, you’ve been warned. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but all the characters in Berandal are just so fucking shippable. There were a lot of latent bromance moments, loads of could-be-would-be-should-be pairing – ranging from father-son, hate-love, enemy-turned-lover, same-side, or whatever else your mind could conjure. Blood ties, even, because Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl are just so sweet and creepy and fluffy and angsty and I would do anything to see more of them and their interactions. Cross my heart. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with overdrive imagination over the innuendo-laden “Buka bajunya” scene. Or that certain scene of Uco and Yuda because their position and the sounds are just so wrong. Or that creepily romantic gesture from Bejo to Uco. And I will stop before I corrupt any of you more than I should.
At the end of the day, The Raid 2: Berandal was an amazing movie. It was packed with fun and entertainment, where you could just sit back and enjoy those intricately brilliant action porn, with plausible tale as a bonus point. And the eye-candies. Oohhh the eye-candies. If you’re into that “violent/intimidating/evil/badass” thing, then this movie will definitely satisfy your kinks. As it does with mine. I’m still not over Oka Antara changing his gun’s magazine while driving, or Bejo and his cryptic cynical smile. And Baseball Bat Man’s iconic “Siniin bolanya” has made it’s way to my top pick up lines – as twisted as it sounds. Orgasmic actions, gorgeous shot, beautiful music, homme fatale(s and a femme fatale) characters,
subtle bromance. Berandal is simply, highly, recommended for anyone.
Side note: I got the chance to meet the cast after I watched the movie, and snatched myself a picture with the amicable Arifin Putra and dangerously charming Alex Abbad. So really, it’s not much of a surprise that I fangirl over this movie like
(or maybe more than) I fangirl over Peaky Blinders or The Day of The Doctor.
Director: Gareth Evans. Writer: Gareth Evans. Released on: March 28th 2014. Casts: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Alex Abbad, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman, Cecep Arif Rahman, Kazuki Kitamura, Kenichi Endo, Ryuhei Matsuda.