Niagara Gazette — How much time for movie-going do you have? Four new films arrive, and some of you might consider a marathon of sorts, although it’s certainly obvious that these movies have their own specific appeal.
“The Raid 2,” “Le Week-end,” “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” and “The Face Of Love” are all, in their specialized way, worth seeing. It’s too bad that many audience members won’t jump genres. Bending your own rules will send you to a theater where you might be surprised.
Director and screenwriter Gareth Evans, from Wales, admires Asian mysticism and the legend of the Samurai. His movies are tributes to the lone fighter. His “The Raid 2” begins exactly where his “The Raid: Redemption” from 2011 left off. You don't have to have seen the latter, just know that the same young Jakarta, Indonesia policeman is the focus of both films. In the first movie, an astonishing battle took place floor by floor in a multi-story building until the highest floor was reached.
In “The Raid 2” there’s more story and more depth, but we are again watching phenomenal, kinetic, blood-soaked fight scenes that never let up. A muddy prison courtyard, a sweatshop where adult films are made, and a walk-in wine cooler are just three of the settings for the mayhem. How about 30 against one in a lavatory stall? That’s right. Stall. Bone-shattering combat in an automobile? Evans has that covered. Not only is this the best Asian-style martial arts picture I've seen, it also features one of the best car chases I've seen, and I've sat through a lot of on-screen car chases.
Compared to “The Raid 2,” the hand-to-hand fighting in those over-budgeted, committee-made, Hollywood studio comic book films are watered-down and laughable, including in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."