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NONSTOP HANDS-ON ACTION

The Raid 2 (R) (150 min.) - Make no mistake. If what you're after is insane, mind-boggling violent martial arts action, The Raid 2 is quite possibly the ultimate.

Some might argue that distinction goes to its simpler, stripped-down 2011 predecessor about a rookie cop (Iko Uwais) fighting his way through hundreds of armed henchmen to arrest a major drug dealer on the top floor of an apartment building.

The Raid 2 is essentially an extension of the original, though, with the same super-saturation of viciously brutal combat and stylized visual flourishes from British-born writer-director-editor Gareth Evans.

After miraculously (and somewhat ridiculously) emerging from the first film with only a few bruises, honest cop Rama (Uwais) must go back undercover and root out the real bad guys: Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo), the crime lord who rules Jakarta, and a high-ranking corrupt police official. That means getting sent to prison and gradually becoming embroiled in a turf war with Bangun's Japanese gangster rivals.

This time, the slaughter has more of an epic quality and there's more plot to keep track of between maulings. Quite a bit more plot, actually. It's debatable whether or not the crowd that thrilled to the original's story-optional carnage will appreciate the dramatic complications that increase this movie's running time nearly an hour. (Various Tampa Bay area theaters.)

Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times

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