Review of "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" (Brazil 2010)

Language - Portugese
Genre - Action, Thriller
Release - 2010

Tropa De Elite 2, Poster
Tropa de Elite 2 - Release Poster
Tropa de Elite 2 is the worthy successor to the 2007's massive hit Tropa de Elite. The movie broke box-office records and became the highest grossing Brazilian movie of all time. The movie is directed by José Padilha and stars Wagner Moura as the lead character Roberto Nascimento, the captain of the Special Police Operations battalion of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police.

Set 13 years after the first one, Tropa de Elite 2 continues the story of the main protagonist Nascimento, and the special tactical unit BOPE. However, unlike the first movie which concentrated heavily on the modus operandi of BOPE as well as an insight into the drug operations, corruption in government offices, and the demographics of Rio De Janeiro, Elite Squad 2 is more focused and concentrates on the confrontation between law enforcement and politics (and the milicias they encourage and support).The movie operates at a much grander scale, and has larger scope and ambition compared to it's predecessor. Though a sequel, the movie stands on it's own with only a handful of references from the first one. Still, I'd highly recommend watching them both, preferably in sequence, as the first movie does give you a perspective on the backdrop and the history of the characters. Besides, they are both brilliantly entertaining.
Wagner Moura as Nascimento
The movie starts with a BOPE operation gone supposedly 'bad' after a few prison inmates take the prison guards hostages. Also involved in the incident is the liberal activist Fraga, who also happens to be Nascimento's ex-wife's husband and a long time critic of the heavy handed approach of BOPE. The politicians, including the Governor try to leverage the incident as an opportunity to cut down BOPE(and reduce the power of Nascimento) by trying to make Nascimento and Matias the scapegoats. Matias being one of the two promising Military Police operatives groomed by Nascimento; for details, read my review of the prequel. As a result, Matias sees himself getting dismissed from BOPE and transferred to a paper-pusher job at the Military police.
Nascimento, however, gains widespread support for the operation from the general public, spurred on by a popular television comedian and commentator. Fearing a backlash from the public, the politicos decide to move Nascimento to a special government division instead.

Nascimento uses the position of greater authority to his advantage to make BOPE even stronger resulting in the elimination of street gangs and drug operations from the favelas (slum-dwellings) in Rio. The plan however backfires. The gangs were earlier protected by the corrupt officers of the Military police. Seeing a loss of revenue, the MP officers take things in their own hands and set up milicias (paramilitary forces comprising of personnel from MP) who now run things in the Favela and take a cut ('tax'; protection money) on every single exchange on the streets. The movie smartly details out the nexus between these milicias, officers of the MP and the politicians, who all use each other to further their own agendas. 
Tropa de Elite 2 also explores the evolving relationship of Nascimento with his teenage son Rafael, and the personality clashes between Nascimento and Fraga. As Fraga's ideologies rub off on Rafael, he starts to resent his father as a brutal and sadistic murderer. The movie briefly but nicely captures the awkward moments of the father and his teenage son as they make an attempt to better understand each other. These moments of family drama and the confrontations are interesting and form an integral part of the story-telling.

Worth mentioning is the solid performance by Wagner Moura as Nascimento. His screen presence makes his character of an individual almost single-handedly taking on the rampant corruption in the city of Rio somewhat believable. Irandhir Santos as Fraga also does a fine job as a non-pragmatic leftist. I just wish they had more of André Ramiro (Matias) in the movie, as I think that his cold yet fierce demeanor makes for great screen moments. Also impressive is the multi-genre execution of the film.

Tropa de Elite 2 has elements of an action thriller, a political thriller, gangster yarn and family drama as well. As you watch the movie, you'll fail to not get impressed by the effortless manner in which the movie manages to maneuver across various genres and that in my opinion is what makes this movie truly entertaining through-out it's 2+ hrs run-time, despite it's largely cliched plot elements.