The following review was written during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Let’s just get this out of the way: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Raid: Redemption. Gareth Evans’ Indonesian action flick was a video game riff on John Carpenter’s classic Assault on Precinct 13, and while its intense devotion to martial arts wizardry was certainly impressive, I found myself wanting more when it came to story and drama. So when it was announced that The Raid 2 would be debuting at Sundance — with a running time of nearly two and a half hours, no less — I was curious to see if Evans could bring something more to the table the second time around.

I had nothing to worry about. With a bigger budget and even grander ambitions, The Raid 2 is a sprawling epic that takes memorable characters, polished filmmaking, and truly audacious action choreography and spins them all into a delirious gangster drama that’s the most invigorating action movie I’ve seen in years.