This is a review of The Raid 2 Berandal, based on the story.
Avoid this review if you do not want to be spoiled.
"Bapak minta maaf sama mereka.. pakai bahasa mereka.. di tanah kita"
(How could you apologize to them, using their language, in our land)
Ucok (Arifin Putra), was the prince of Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) family. He thought he would have his own charisma as how his father was. He was wrong. He got into a fight with another spoiled brat and was taken into prison. In the prison, he knew better, he should use his father name to scare people instead of relying on his own. He gathered a group of muscle man to protect him, lead by Beni.
Those run well at the beginning. The prison guards let him walked with his gang, even let him brought knife everywhere inside the prison. Until a new guy came into prison and put on a show. Several person was beaten by the new guy alone in the toilet stall and this guy refused Ucok's offer to be part of his men.
The new guy was Yudha (Iko Uwais), a man from nowhere, not affiliated to any group. Eka (Oka Antara), Bangun's caretaker, had run a background checking and confirmed to Ucok, Yudha did not came from any rival groups. Ucok took interest on him. But not until the incident of the prison riot, he could gain friendship from Yudha. In the riot itself, Ucok learnt that he couldn't trust anyone, not even his own men.
Two years later,
when Yudha had been released from prison, Ucok personally picked him and drove him to his father. Ucok wanted Yudha to be part of his family. His father approved and put Yudha to be Ucok bodyguard. Yudha himself had successfully proven to be a great killing machine in his first task.
Somehow, being a bodyguard, didn't mean Yudha would follow whatever Ucok wanted. The Karaoke incident told Ucok that Yudha had his own thought. While Yudha might be a killing machine, it seemed he could not enjoy the nightlife as other thugs. Worse, it seemed Yudha had his own moral code.
Meanwhile, the Karaoke incident made Ucok learnt that while his father was in power, it didn't make all people respect him. Yes, some people may aware of his father existence and afraid to insult him yet it didn't stop the other people to disobey Ucok. It didn't make Yudha, his own bodyguard, obey him either.
And then, a mysterious call came. It offered Ucok to fullfill his ambition, to raise him into a new respected guy in a higher position than he was. The call came from Bejo and he invited Ucok to his restaurant.
"Jadi tukang sampah pun saya sudah lebih sukses dari ayah saya "
(by being a simple garbage man, I would have been considered as
more successful man than my father ever was)" -- Bejo
Bejo (Alex Abbad) came from a low class. He kept reminding himself how he came from a low class and he did not shy to tell that to other people, including his enemies. He was a social climber, a calculated one. He knew who should be ridden and who should be taken as company.
His action, no matter how aggressive it was, was still considered as a small thing. Even though some Yakuza had suspect his move, they could not lay hands on him since the scope of his action was small enough. The best they could do was report him to Bangun.
However, Bejo was now ready to take a giant leap. He invited Ucok to his restaurant and offer him to build his own legend, to create his own charisma. In a humble proposal, he told Ucok that he only wanted a small land with no liability of protection money.
Bejo told Ucok that to create a legend, they need a war. They had to unbalanced the structure so they could rebuild a new empire. Ucok had to sacrifice his own palace to raise the battle cry.
And then start the battle scene which being praised by the audience in Sundance and SXSW Festival 2014.
Arifin Putra, I've seen him in previous Indonesia film, Badai di Ujung Negeri and I was surprised he could actually act. The most amazing scene of him and also the scariest one was the Karaoke. That was so real and Yudha, the good guy, couldn't do anything on that scene. The karaoke girl could be slashed to death and there was nothing the protagonist could do.
Alex Abbad, I loved when he played in Merantau. I knew I would be in treat when I heard he would be Bejo in this movie. And he didn't disappoint.
Oka Antara. I have seen his movie a lot. Most of them were about being a kind and full of smile guy. I knew he tried to be different character. One of his movie where he tried to be 'bad guy' was Killers directed by Mo Brothers, yet I still saw him as a nice and kind guy. In The Raid 2, he was different. He became a serious guy on his job and there was no good guy anymore.
Tio Pakusadewo. Uncle Tio is a senior actor, just like uncle Ray Sahetapy who played as Tama in the first movie. Here, he played Bangun, an old father who wished his son could learn patience.
Yayan Ruhiyan. The Mad Dog of The Raid Redemption, returned as a totally different character. He played as an assasin and also an old servant of Bangun family. In return, Bangun family considered him as a close member of the family. When Ucok needs someone to express his anger, he would call Prakoso, the servant.