Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, or Tropa de Elite 2 – O Inimigo Agora é Outro to give it its true Portuguese title, is the sequel to 2007’s Elite Squad, and comes to Blu-ray and DVD on 26th of December 2011 from Revolver Entertainment. Elite Squad followed Brazil’s special forces, BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais), the Special Police Operations Battalion of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police, who battle against the drug lords who rule the favelas, and also the corruption within the government that profits from them. Elite Squad was a huge success in Brazil and became a cult hit across the globe, so a sequel was sure to follow. The only issue with making a sequel to a film that struck such a cultural chord is, how do you keep that energy and style.
The film again follows the career of Captain, now Lt. Col., Roberto Nascimento, who at the start of the film leads a botched BOPE operation at a prison riot, that unluckily happens in the presence of Diego Fraga, a campaigner against BOPE’s method’s, which he claims use excessive force too frequently. After fearing that he would lose his job, he is instead promoted to a job within the Department of Security. While Fraga (who also happens to be married to Nascimento’s ex-wife) using his new found fame runs for, and succeeds in becoming, a state representative. The two opposing forces now share equal power, and are both fighting the same cause, but their different approaches clash. This is mirrored in the life of Nascimento’s teenage son, who’s exposure to Fraga’s influence causes him to reject his father, as he starts to see him as part of the problems his stepfather is fighting against.
Elite Squad : The Enemy Within, tends to deal more with the political corruption that is rife in Brazil than the gangland issue in the favelas. Brazil’s current social issues are making for some great and interesting films over recent years, and the Elite Squad films are leading the bunch. This film is effortlessly cool.
When fellow Brazilian film City of God, was released its was praised for its Scorsese like style, it had a very American feel to it, while telling a story that was very of its time and place. Well Elite Squad: The Enemy Within follows in this mould. The film feels and looks very North American, but adds a verve and panache that have so often been lacking from recent US crime films. This film feels epic and grand, but its 115 minute run time helps it flow superbly. By the time this film finished I was already wanting more. José Padilha has made a crime film that is teetering on the edge of perfection. The plot is so twisting and fast moving that this film should tie itself in knots, but Padilha, along with editor Daniel Rezende, and cinematographer Lula Carvalho, manage to shoot, cut, and frame, with such precision that the film never becomes lost. All three worked on both film’s and if there is to be a third film then I suspect these three will not let us down.
Elite Squad : The Enemy Within is filled with great performances, with Irandhir Santos as Diego Fraga, and André Mattos as Fortunato (State Representative and host of a political tabloid TV show) both giving fantastic performances. However all the major praise must go to Wagner Moura as Roberto Nascimento, who gives a towering performance that at points has shades of early De Niro (back when he was a force). Moura’s narration helps lead you through what’s going on, its not just there to help the stupid to understand, its essential to your understanding that this is Nascimentos story, and Moura expertly plays it tense throughout, every so often bursting into life, often with violent and ferocious consequences.
Elite Squad : The Enemy Within is for me an essential purchase if you love a good crime film, or if you love a good political procedure film, this manages to mix both perfectly. Its not often that a sequel surpasses the original, but Elite Squad : The Enemy Within falls into that bracket. Elite Squad is a great film, but Elite Squad : The Enemy Within is marginally better.
Elite Squad : The Enemy Within is available on Blu ray and DVD 26th of December 2011 from Revolver Entertainment RRP: £22.99 (blu ray) Best price found £11.97 www.hmv.com
Special Features – Making of / Trailer
Anyway peace out suckers! 8/10