SFF 2011 Review: ELITE SQUAD 2: THE ENEMY WITHIN
Easily one of the best action films in recent years, ELITE SQUAD 2: THE ENEMY WITHIN sets new standards in the action genre with a perfect mix of compelling drama and explosive violence. While it works well as a standalone thriller, it is best appreciated if viewed after seeing the original, Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear winner, ELITE SQUAD.
Set in Rio de Janeiro, it's been over a decade since the events in the first film. When Roberto Nascimento (Wagner Moura) orders an attack on the high-security Bangu 1 Prison, it becomes bloody and he gets accused of cold-blooded execution of prisoners by human rights advocate Diogo Fraga (Irandhir Santos). Through a series of events that are mostly out of their control, the lives of both men change, and as things unfold, new enemies start to emerge from within - corrupt policemen.
The film boasts top-notch production values. The action scenes are beautifully executed, and as slick as ones seen in any big-budget Hollywood production. The attack on Bangu 1 at the beginning of the film is brutal and relentless, and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The intensity builds throughout the film till its dramatic climax, and it is only when the end credits start rolling that audiences could finally catch some relaxed breaths.
ELITE SQUAD 2: THE ENEMY WITHIN is much more than just an action film, it is also part political thriller and part social commentary. Director José Padilha has proven with this film that he is a master story-teller. He, who co-wrote the screenplay, has skilfully weaved a complex web of interactions between politics, law enforcement and the media. The intriguing story, gripping narration, convincing performances and well-staged action all work together to make ELITE SQUAD 2: THE ENEMY WITHIN one extraordinary movie.
ELITE SQUAD 2: THE ENEMY WITHIN is distributed on DVD and Blu-ray in Oz by Madman Entertainment, Australia's leading distributor of anime, independent film, Asian cinema, National Geographic, Cartoon Network and other special interest genres.