The first Elite Squad set the tone of the crime scene in Rio de Janeiro today; basically, the police are swamped and they need help. Big time. This they get in shape of BOPE (Brazil's State Police Special Operations Battalion), an elite unit of ass-kickers who wear their black uniforms, skull badges and guerilla training with pride.
The problem is that not even BOPE is free of the corruption that is eating the country from the inside.
Fifteen years have passed since BOPE chief Nascimento (Wagner Moura) climbed the favela's hills with his squad. Now he's a Lieutenant Colonel, controlling the action from behind his desk while Captain Matias (Andre Ramiro) - a naive law student no more - is in charge of street operations.
In their way is idealistic social activist Fraga (Irandhir Santos), the endless bureaucracy of the system, and a prison crisis that's about to turn into a massacre. Plenty to deal with, then... and we're only five minutes in.
Like its predecessor, Padilha's sequel is violent, controversial and hits all the raw nerves currently exposed in Rio. Though more of a considered conspiracy thriller than its action-heavy first act, the saga maintains its momentum through superb editing from Daniel Rezende, an Oscar nominee for City of God, and Padilha's expert unraveling of what's a very complicated mess.
The humour, catch-phrases, and twists and turns remain, but this time viewers are drawn in even further as Padilha and his superhero Nascimento go more boldly and deeply into the problem. Top entertainment with much food for thought.