Elite Squad: The Enemy Within Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 7, 2011
Whereas it's predecessor was an unflinching street-level document of the elite "Special Police Operations Squad" of Rio de Janeiro, and the first-person turmoils of it's Captain Roberto Nascimento, "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" is infinitely broader in scope. This film explores the facets of corruption from the ground level, all the way up to the hights of politics in an ambition, angry, and unforgettable way (while feeling just as personal as the first film). "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" is not only better than "Elite Squad," it plays like and ranks with some of the best crime sagas out there.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
It`s The Wire meets The Departed. A masterpiece. An unforgettable and breathtaking action film, they dont get better than this. It`s a pure slam-bang knockout of an action movie. It packs an intense blow of story, characters, politics and realism into one explosive tour de force. A cripplingly dramatic and well-constructed flick. A stylish, heart-pounding, twist-filled and action-packed edge of your seat thriller that sets the screen ablaze. A powerful and electrifying movie. I loved this film. It`s angry, complex and very compelling all the way through. A real eye-opener that`s smart, fresh and utterly exhilarating. Wagner Moura gives an astonishing performance that deserves awards attention, he has never been better. A brilliant piece of work that stands with filmmakers like Coppola and Scorsese. It`s top-notch and truly superb. Bravo Director, Jose Padiha, this directors got talent and i hope to see more of his work in the future. An adrenaline-charged and tremendously entertaining thrill-ride that truly just rocks
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2012
Captain Nasciento is promoted to the Intelligence Agency and uses his BOPE units to clear the drug trade out of the city, unwittingly allowing the corrupt militia to fill the empty criminal power vacuum. Jose Padilha's sequel to the entertaining if morally dubious Elite Squad is a similar expose of the crime and corruption of modern day Rio de Janeiro, peppered with some brutal action sequences and coloured with nothing but various shades of morally ambiguous grey. Padilha's script is actually rather more nuanced than that of the first film, which tempers the fascistic overtones as Nasciento comes to find common ground with the lily-livered liberal Fraga when he realises that they both want the same thing; justice. It also attempts to address the corruption of the system beyond the streets showing the self serving politicians pulling the strings and their manipulation of the media. It's essentially a visceral tirade against institutional corruption and as such seems a little preachy, especially since the first person narrative makes it feel rather dry and detached. The action scenes are brilliantly executed however and the multi-layered story gives it a depth missing from the original film making for a quality action thriller with a political spin.
Super Reviewer
½ March 9, 2011
Even better than the exceptional first movie, it boasts an intelligent story where the drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro is beaten but a new enemy rises - a possible scenario that exposes a complex social cancer leading all the way up to the politicians, passing by the corrupt Military Police and the shady interests of the media.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2011
"They fatten up the pig, now we gonna roast it."

After a prison riot, Captain Nascimiento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.

Elite Squad 2 works because it grows from the first one. The first movie introduced BOPE to the world and had to spend time explaining its methods, philosophy, code of honour and recruitment process. The sequel doesn't suffer from the burden of exposition, and instead of rehashing the plot of the first - the bane of most sequels - it lets the characters' personalities lead the story.

Brazilian cinema has been very good since City of God exploded in the world like a hand grenade. Because of it Brazilian cinema has become synonymous with crime movies, even if that's a gross generalization. A subgenre of crime movies defined by graphic violence, social criticism and inventive camera work has prospered in its wake: My Name Ain't Johnny, The Man Who Copied, City of Men, Bus 174, and the Elite Squad movies. At the heart of this Renaissance is the movie's screenwriter, Bráulio Mantovani. For better or for worse all these movies take inspiration from the style he established in City of God. Directors and actors come and go, but everyone still copies the dark humour, the political irreverence, the non-linear narratives, and the clever voice-over that earned Mantovani an Oscar nomination almost a decade ago.

Editor Daniel Rezende, who also worked in City of God, puts the movie together with the force of a tornado. Complementing director of photography Lula Carvalho's documentary-like style, the fast editing and the dizzying camera work go as far as cinema outside of 3D can go in immersing the viewer in the middle of the action.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2011
It's not often a sequel is better than the first film, even less so when the first movie was as good as Tropa De Elite was. Yet this movie beats it in every way. Easily one of the best movies I have ever seen. Fantastic. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2011
A maior bilheteria do cinema nacional. Um filme que fala de forma convincente a corrupção na politica brasileira, sendo ela, enfrentada pelo heroi do longa.
Super Reviewer
December 16, 2010
I had not the slight desire to watch it, but it's actually very good, better than Tropa de Elite/The Elite Squad. Many countries have to face "similar" problems, but the extension of violence and corruption in Brazil is just revolting.

Super Reviewer
December 8, 2011
I haven't seen the first ELITE SQUAD, but this sequel works magnificently as a stand-alone film, so don't be deterred. Brazil's Official Entry for the 2011 Academy Awards and the highest grossing film in Latin American history is a blazing genre film with a strong political statement.

Clearly inspired by GOODFELLAS, this intense story shows the many levels of corruption within Rio's government and police force, who conspire to take over the drug trade in the favelas (aka slums) and subsequently rule every aspect of its businesses. The police become a mafia-style militia, and it's easy to see this playing out in cities all over the world. All you have to do is look at the crackdowns on protesters in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lybia, or the victims of pepper-spraying and worse in our own backyards, and you can relate to what's on display here.

This is a highly complex story, but I had no trouble following it because the characters are so richly drawn and the direction is so immediate and engrossing. Jose Padilha impressed me with his documentary, BUS 174, and his experience making it pay off tremendously with great handheld cinematography and a clear sense of what story he's telling. Many have complained about the wall-to-wall voiceover, but it's very similar to GOODFELLAS and truly helped me keep track of the story. Sure, it overstates the obvious at times, and the film would most likely have played just fine without it, but it helped me sort everything out.

What really keeps you grounded are the wonderful performances. Wagner Moura, a dead ringer for Mark Ruffalo, plays Captain Nascimento, who attempts to rid Rio of its corruption, particularly that of the most disarmingly frightening bad guy I've seen in a long time, played by Sandro Rocha as the most corrupt cop you're likely to see on screen. His intensity, even at a backyard barbeque, is the stuff of nightmares. Also contributing great work is Maria Ribeiro as Nascimento's ex-wife, Irandhir Santos as her current husband and voice of uber-liberalism, Andre Ramiro as Nascimento's right-hand man and potential loose cannon, and Andre Mattos as a blustering, over-the-top tv host who makes Peter Finch in NETWORK look like Mr. Rogers.

The opening sequence alone, detailing a prison riot and how it's handled, was enough to make me sit up and take notice throughout the entire 116 minutes. A sequence in the favelas as Rocha takes over and an amazingly intense scene in which a reporter stumbles upon key evidence are master classes in movie suspense. Ultimately, this is a highly depressing treatise on the never-ending cycles of corruption presented as a ferociously-paced cop thriller. Jose Padilha is pegged to direct the reboot of ROBOCOP next, which seems like a perfect fit, as he's pretty good at turning a genre film into something deeper.
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2011
Pulse pounding, moves at a breathless pace, slick and violent coupled with strong script and strong performances, one of the few sequels way better than its prequel (and the prequel was splendid!) . Director José Padilha, who also directed the gripping Bus 174 , brings about a visceral quality to the narrative. A Brazilian gem, an absolute must watch!
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2011
Bleak. Though the character of Nascimento & André Ramiro stand for justice and if they are even just a hick-up in the cycle of the self-preserving network of crime deeply rooted in the core of the politics of Rio and in essence anywhere a corrupt politician kills for money and power.... People like the character Nascimento will make sure that that hick-up elevates into a choke.

This movie is bleak yet I have hope that more people like the Captain exist in this world.
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2012
Hold the press: A sequel that's better than the first film! An amazingly well-told story of violence, corruption and principles, with less crass violence than Tropa de Elite (mind you, still a lot of that!) and more actual storytelling. Brazilian cinema probably can't get much better than this, an absolute must-see.
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2012
Another good crime/corruption drama from Brazil. A nice follow up to the original 'Elite Squad'.
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2011
A sequel that's even better than it's predecessor. One of the best films of 2011, this masterpiece of a film ranks up alongside the greatest crime sagas. Bring on the third part of the trilogy!
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2011
HIFF 31: Fun and engrossing with a great story. I only wished I didn't have to read subtitles. Not that I don't like subtitles, the movie was so good I just wanted to focus on what was happening on screen and not reading.
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2011
As the first installment its acting, visual effects, sound, plot and acting are excellent. Compared to "Tropa de Elite 1", this sequel delivers a much more mature picture, a deeper look into the issues that plague every Latin American major city like citizen's security, human rights, and political responsibility.
I recommend this to anyone who likes a good crime movie with a message and if you like the Scorcese movies you will like this one.
July 26, 2014
A fast paced and awesome Brazilian film. Action, social subtext and brilliant acting are all weaved throughout the film.
½ May 25, 2013
Brilliant. This film didn't suffer the few issues that the first had. Nascimento and Matias are both likeable by the end. Possibly the only drawback is the degree of cartoonishness that the fat politician (Fortunato?) brought. However, the general public is stupid so I suppose it is possible that such a person could be elected.
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