Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal – The Raid 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

2 out of 5

Label: Spacelab9

Produced by: Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal (?)

At a high level, Aria Prayogi’s and Fajar Yuskemal’s Raid 2 soundtrack – now partnered with Joseph Trapanese – is similarly structured to their work on the original film: the approximate first half of the score has some punctuated moments and one or two occurrences of a theme, but is pretty tame and rather unmotivating without any accompanying visuals; once the movie kicks into its concluding segments, though, stringing together longer action sequences and fights, the score can ride alongside – from about The Assassin (track 16) onward, there’s a more consistent sense of build and release that’s fist-pumpingly exciting all on its own.

Unfortunately, Raid 2 is a much more expansive, longer movie than the first Raid, and seems to equal a longer score as well, which highlights the disparity between these two halves. And while the addition of (I’m guessing) Trapanese’s percussion and electronics adds some punch to Prayogi’s / Yuskemal’s more ambient elements, the two styles don’t actually sync too well until the score’s second part either – in the former section, any track that starts to get a little muster going will stop short, and then start wholly again; there’s not any track-to-track linearity, really, but nor is there much intra-track linearity. Spot-scoring – outside of the context of the film – never makes for a great soundtrack to me, but this is a step beyond that, in that the songs don’t necessarily combine into a cohesive vibe: there’s some intense or interesting drumming that comes and goes; there’s some floaty mood music that does the same.

It’s rather frustrating in that those moments of muster can be pretty inspiring, and when I had this on in the background, they’d “trick” me into feeling like the score was pretty badass, but then I’d be puzzled why none of the tracks made any impact until around The Assassin and onwards – at which point, again, the thing is solid, with the climb across The Pursuit and Motor Chase damned intense, and concluding Showdown (prior to the add-on of Artidewi’s “Hush,” anyway, which is a fine coda) the perfect combination of cinematic flair and violent dancefloor thump. While I suppose that upswing should then make me more forgetting in my rating, it’s the severe unevenness that I think makes it worse – whenever I would get roused enough by the score to check what track it was on, it’d be The Assassin, and then I’d be listening a bit more intently up through the conclusion. I’d hit play again, and literally almost instantly tune out until the song circled around once more.

As with The Raid, Trapanese, Prayogi, and Yuskemal’s score surely maps to the film’s events well, but it’s not very compelling on its own for too much of its runtime, with starts and stops of tempo preventing any flow until its final, admittedly awesome, tracks.