"The Raid 2: Berandal"
*** (Three stars)
Gareth Evans' follow-up to his 2012 martial arts classic, "The Raid," is more of everything: more emotional, more ambitious, more brutal, more blood-filled, and more grandiose. It's also more convoluted and bloated. But that still doesn't stop this high-octane sequel from being one of the most amazingly visceral action movies since, well, the first "The Raid." Starting right after the end of the first film, Indonesian cop, Rama (the lightning-fast Iko Uwais), is asked to infiltrate a mob boss' lair to uncover his connection with corrupt cops. That leads to dizzying fight scenes in a muddy rain-soaked prison courtyard, a nightclub, and a heart-pounding car chase in which Rama fights five men INSIDE a moving sedan. But the connecting dramatic scenes and one-too-many subplots tend to drag the movie's rhythm down. Hopefully, the 21/2-hour movie will get trimmed before its March 28 release in U.S. theaters. It almost seems certain that some of the ultra-violent scenes will have to get cut to get an R rating.