Viking Night: Elite Squad 2
By Bruce Hall
March 27, 2012
No I am not a Jedi, but I do already know what some of you are thinking. You're wondering how a film that was released in 2010 and screened at Sundance in 2011 could already have earned a place in the hallowed pantheon of cult cinema. Worse yet, maybe you're rolling your eyes at the title. Maybe you think Elite Squad 2 sounds like a cornball vanity project where a dozen washed up, saggy-titted old action heroes blow things up, get into bloodless fistfights, tell lame jokes, and hobble around on aluminum walkers for 90 minutes. Maybe you're scratching your head because you have no idea what I'm talking about. And maybe you just hate subtitles.
Well if that's your attitude, Elite Squad 2 doesn't need you. It doesn't have time for you. It laughs at your weakness, mocks your confusion and someday it will happily spit on your grave. It will steal your girlfriend, wreck your car, spend your money, drink all your beer, and put its feet on your furniture. It will do all these things, and you will like it. This is because Elite Squad 2 has indeed become legend, and for good reason. Movie geeks far and wide have been singing its praises all year long and I admit; I was afraid to see it. I just...wasn't sure what it would do to me.
Well, I was right to be afraid.
Truly, who among us can say they are prepared for this level of unadulterated, brain melting, gut punching awesomeness? Watching Elite Squad 2 is like getting blasted in the face with a commercial sandblaster at a Metallica concert while ninjas break white pine boards across your back. Watching Elite Squad 2 is like filling a turkey baster with scotch and Tabasco sauce and injecting it into your eyeball while a Marine drill sergeant screams obscenities at you. It will kick your ass. It will put hair on your chest, and then it will put hair on that hair. It is nothing less than the most bone crushing, flesh searingly wicked police drama released in years.
Bold statements? Yes. True statements? Hell yes.
As you can guess from the title, Elite Squad 2 is a sequel, and the director of both films has since been tapped to helm the reboot of Robocop. I'll tell you now, I was rather tepid on the idea of another Robocop until I saw Elite Squad 2. Then, I just assumed that Robocop was the guy who made it. In reality, Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha is not a cyborg, although I'm pretty sure parts of him are made from massive chunks of gleaming steel. Here, Padilha continues the story he began with 2007's Elite Squad. Police Captain Roberto Nascimento (Wagner Moura) and his friend Matias were bright, idealistic young cops in Rio De Janiero's military police force who join BOPE, the elite crime fighting unit tasked with taking on the city's drug lords.
Thirteen years later, Nascimento is head of the unit and Matias (Andre Ramiro) is his right hand man. They're both a little less young and a little less idealistic. The city is still routinely rocked by drug violence, and the government and police are riddled with the sort of cancerous corruption that makes it hard for BOPE to fight the good fight. Nascimento and his boys are understaffed and underfunded, but they bust ass and get results. This creates problems for the state Governor, who is in the pocket of the local militia, along with most of the city police. They want Nascimento gone, and they get their chance when a riot breaks out at Brazil's most infamous penitentiary. BOPE responds, but not before prominent civil rights activist Diogo Fraga (Irandhir Santos) shows up.