Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A few words: The Raid 2; Captain America: The Winter Solider

The next two weeks are gonna be pretty good to action fans: this Friday sees the release of the highly anticipated Indonesian martial arts actioner The Raid 2, and a week later, Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier is unleashed. Both films could not be more different, but I'd wager that they will each deliver enough to satisfy their respective fans.

The Raid 2 picks up soon after the first one ends, and throughout the film, writer/director Gareth Evans finds ways to expand on its criminal underworld, introducing a bevy of new characters and subplots that make it more of a sprawling gangster saga than a straight all-out fight-fest. That said, once the action kicks in, you ain't seen nothing like this... The brutality is amplified, but better still, there's more variety in fight choreography, with ballsy usage of weaponry like baseball bats and hammers that's guaranteed to make you squirm in your seats. Plus there's one hell of a car chase that makes anything coming out of Hollywood pale immensely in comparison. The Raid 2 is one vicious, unrelenting movie, but if you can stomach it, I swear you'll be coming back for more. Don't miss it on the big screen!

I'm far from a Marvel fanboy, and I generally tend to find all their films samey and disposable, but the first Captain America flick I really dug and find to be a somewhat underrated entry in their universe. As far as sequels go, The Winter Soldier ain't bad at all, and definitely contains the grittiest action set-pieces yet for Marvel. With a background largely fixed in comedy (Community, You, Me and Dupree), directors Anthony and Joe Russo seem like an odd choice to be handling this kind of fare, but they've done a fine job here; even though they succumb to all-too-frenetic staging at times, the grounded, punchy, battering-ram feel of the action is a nice change from Iron Man et al. Of course, the finale consists of mucho numbing gargantuan destructo-vision that's the norm for superhero films now, but otherwise it's a solid, entertaining sequel, and Steve Rogers continues to be one of Marvel's more likeable characters.

We'll be giving away double passes to Captain America: The Winter Soldier later this week so keep your eyes out for that. Also, if you're feeling retro and want to catch the old '70s Captain America TV movies, we do have them, here and here.

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