*Warning - This review was written in one hour as a favour for Law&More and after having not seen the film in over a month - you have been warned. Let the terrible spelling and punctuation begin!*
In 2014 all eyes will turn to Brazil as it hosts perhaps the largest and most watched sporting event in the world – the FIFA World Cup. Describing the country’s infrastructure as fragile would be an understatement, a sentiment not only seconded by both of the Elite Squad movies but exposed for all to see.
Whilst City of God may have open many eyes to the heightened level of crime and disorder in the favelas of Brazil, director Jose Padiha has continued to carry this torch of social critique, using its flames to ignite a sense of rebellion within the country.
Elite Squad 2 jumps right into the action as we witness a violent prison riot in Rio get out of hand. The resulting implications lead to a series of events which begin to successfully uncover the many failings of the cities government and its crooked police department, leading to an investigation which culminates in collection of high-octane set pieces with a degree of risk normally reserved for the most dramatic of thrillers.
The first Elite Squad movie has become so influential that it has often been cited as an example of the ludicrous violence which continues to desecrate Rio. Elite Squad 2, set 12 years after the original film, very much carries on this tradition but this time takes a less sensationalised and brutal approach, attempting to engage its subject matter with brains as well as brawn.
The bullets still fly and the pace remains as frantic as before but Elite squad two is much more ambitious with its story, instead taking a more direct swipe at the apparent dishonest government ruling this vast country. With an aesthetic more similar to The Wire than the Expendables, this tale of corruption and criminal violence deceptively hides a much deeper tale, which successfully resonates long after the closing credits, ultimately acting as a sucker punch to the Brazilian government and leaving a lasting bruise, which, will be hard for those in power to disguise as mere fiction exacerbating an otherwise minute crisis.
Whilst Elite Squad 2 may act as an important piece of film making, which successfully holds up a mirror to the feelings of disenfranchisement of the Brazilian population, it also holds its own cinematically, becoming a successful action film filled with intriguing themes of political corruption and a vast cast of likeable, and incredibly human characters.
Whilst advertised as something of a South American cop thriller, Elite Squad 2 is actually far more necessary a film than it purports to be. Elite Squad 2 is a must for anyone with even the mildest interest in Brazilian culture or can be simply enjoyed as an outright action film which, never lacks in adrenaline or excitement.
Instant Reaction: 4
Retrospective Score: 3.5