Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

4 out of 5 stars
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Both responding to and rebutting critics who dubbed its predecessor fascist, Jos Padilha's superior sequel to 2007's Elite Squad doubles down on the kill-'em-all rhetoric while placing its trigger-happy heroes in a larger context. Scrolling forward 13 years from the first film's time frame, The Enemy Within transplants graying Captain Nascimento (Moura) from Rio's squalid favelas to the antiseptic halls of government, where he supercharges the manpower of BOPE (think an in-country Special Forces). It's typical of the film's jaundiced politics that his advancement comes on the heels of a botched hostage crisis that leaves several prison inmates dead; with public opinion on his side, Nascimento can't be fired. Naturally, they promote him instead.

Even from his loftier perch, this former police officer can't stem the encroachment of corrupt cops intent on taking out the city's drug dealers in order to make room for their own criminal activities. The collateral damage mounts with alarming regularity as Nascimento tries to navigate Rio's thoroughly rotten system, clashing and eventually collaborating with a liberal crusader (Santos), who's married to the former's ex-wife. As in its predecessor, Enemy's mean-streets monologues still act as the overriding voice ("To a soldier like me, war is medicine," goes one pithy mantra), but our hero's prominence sets up a stellar conclusion that retroactively questions both the first movie and its substantial audience.

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Release details

Release date:
Friday November 11 2011
116 mins

Cast and crew

José Padilha
José Padilha
Wagner Moura
Santos Morales