Veni, Vidi, Vici: The Raid 2 & 13 Ghosts II

Following my previous post on Gone Girl, I am continuing my analysis of my interactions with movies and music with The Raid 2 and 13 Ghosts II, respectively. Unlike Gone Girl, the experience I had with these two pieces of art were in the comfort of my own home.

A GHOST IN THE RAID

– Spoilers will follow –

Unlike most films I watch, I came across The Raid 2 very unexpectedly. It was mentioned here and there on Reddit’s movie subreddit, yet had much praise. With no knowledge of the first film or the series in general, I jumped straight into the second movieraid-2_675x1000.

Being a summer day, I set aside a few hours of my day, closed my shutters, put my headphones on, and opened the movie on my computer. With my elbows leaned against my desk and my hands on my chin, The Raid 2 began before my eyes.

Immediately, the film’s crisp cinematography and amazing soundtrack hit me. I did not expect such artistic complexity from a supposed martial arts/action/crime/thriller. Since the film is foreign, hearing the actors speaking Indonesian was completely welcoming and enhanced my immersion into the rough city of Jakarta. The action in and of itself was amazing as well. It was brutal, bloody, and invigorating as a fan of action and martial arts movies would enjoy. The plot was extremely tense, keeping me worried and nervous to see the next harsh encounter the main character, Rama, would endure..

However, it was not solely the film’s technical elements that made The Raid 2 such an impactful film for me. Rather, it was also its ending, tied in with Nine Inch Nail’s 13 Ghosts II, that has made it one of my favorite films of all time. In the end, Rama, having killed countless gangsters and finally the ruthless mob bosses controlling them, slowly walks out of the warehouse which the aforementioned violence ensued. He is covered in blood, lacerations, gashes, and heavy bruises as numerous as the battles he has been through. At the entrance of the warehouse is the rival gang to one Rama just defeated. In this key moment, 13 Ghosts II begins to play, its somber tone reflecting the mood of the scene. The rival gang’s leader expresses his astonishment with Rama’s feat of killing everyone by himself and offers a position among their ranks, although this is implied due to dialogue being washed out with Nine Inch Nails’ piece. Rama looks up and as 13 Ghosts II ends, he simply says “No…I’m done.”

A very powerful, conclusive ending. The struggles of Rama were summarized in just three words, and the synchronization of 13 Ghosts II to his words solidifies the whole film. Rama was tired of fighting, being the last man standing, being a target. The only thing he desired now was to go home to his wife and child, not join a gang to continue the cycle of pointless violence he was caught up in. This has made me look upon the cycles I go through myself from day-to-day. In order to make change, I have to be like Rama, a cog who is done working endlessly. I have to step back and take my own position on matters, not let them make decisions for me.

After watching The Raid 2, I continue to listen to 13 Ghosts II, reflecting on its impact on me, its mournful yet slightly hopeful tone, changes I can make next week, tomorrow, today. I came into The Raid 2 with little knowledge and a desire for a good film, yet I came out with so much more.

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Photo ©2011 by Martijn de Valk [CC BY-NC 2.0]

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