Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

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Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
The Elite Squad 2.jpg
Directed by José Padilha
Produced by Marcos Prado
Written by José Padilha
Bráulio Mantovani
Starring Wagner Moura
Irandhir Santos
André Ramiro
Milhem Cortaz
André Mattos
Maria Ribeiro
Music by Pedro Bromfman
Cinematography Lula Carvalho
Edited by Daniel Rezende
Zazen Produções
Distributed by Zazen Produções
Variance Films
(United States)
Release dates
  • October 8, 2010 (2010-10-08)
Running time
116 minutes
Country Brazil
Language Portuguese
Budget R$ 16 million[1]
(US$ 9,509,65)
Box office $63,027,681[2]

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Portuguese: Tropa de Elite 2 – O Inimigo Agora é Outro; Lit: Elite Troop 2: It's Another Enemy Now; also known as Elite Squad 2) is a 2010 Brazilian crime film directed, produced and co-written by José Padilha, starring Wagner Moura. It is a sequel of the 2007 film Elite Squad. The film is a continuation of the semi-fictional account of the BOPE (Portuguese: Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais), the Special Police Operations Squad of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police, analogous of the American SWAT, with a focus on the relationship between law enforcement and politics. The film was released in Brazil on October 8, 2010.[3]

Having enjoyed public and critical acclaim, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is the all-time largest box office ticket seller and highest-grossing film in Brazil, ahead of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and Avatar, respectively. The film was selected as the Brazilian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards,[4][5] but it did not make the final shortlist.[6]

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within was released in the United States by Variance Films on November 11, 2011.


The film starts in medias res, 13 years after Baiano's death. Roberto Nascimento (Wagner Moura) is shown leaving a hospital, and a man reports this on his radio chatter. Soon after, his car is blocked and gunned down by unknown shooters.

4 years prior, Nascimento, now divorced and a Lieutenant Colonel in BOPE, arrives at the Bangu Penitentiary Complex to put down a prison riot. After killing his rivals and taking a number of corrupt prison guards hostage (as a part of a deal), gang boss Beirada (Seu Jorge) demands that history teacher, human rights activist and strong opposer of Nascimento's methods Diogo Fraga (Irandhir Santos) is brought in to negotiate. After Fraga convinces Beirada to release the hostages, Captain André Matias (André Ramiro) storms in and execute Beirada, though Nascimento ordered him to wait. Afterwards, Fraga, who is also the new husband of Nascimento's ex-wife Rosana (Maria Ribeiro), expresses his outrage over the situation to the media, which sparks global media attention since he was wearing a "Human Rights" shirt, sparkled with blood.

When Nascimento hears that the Military Police commander Formoso (Rodrigo Candelot) will fire him over the controversy, he goes to personally confront him at a restaurant, only to be greeted by cheering diners who approved the execution. Guaracy (Adriano Garib), the state secretary of Public Safety, uses the situation and promotes Nascimento to Undersecretary of Public Safety for Intelligence. Matias, however, is dismissed from BOPE and demoted to the ordinary police. Nascimento promises Matias to settle his situation and goes to his supervisor about this, but Matias goes to polemic tabloid journalist Clara Vidal (Tainá Müller) and gives her an interview about disregard of BOPE and the corruption of the governor, only to be sent to prison for his complaints. Nascimento confronts Matias about this, and Matias calls him a traitor for taking his position in politics.

Meanwhile, Fraga leveraged his influence to become a state representative in the State Assembly and, much to Nascimento's disappointment, his criticism keeps Nascimento away from his son Rafael, who has become scared of his father's line of work, and his ex wife also wants him to meet with Rafael to explain to him who he is and what is his job.

Nascimento uses his position to turn BOPE into a powerful military police, increasing it to 360 officers, and also gets armored vehicles and s helicopter, personally monitoring the raids from it while BOPE is wiping out the drug dealers (and therefore the corrupt officers bribes) from the favelas in complex planned operations. However, a group of corrupt cops, led by then Major Rocha (Sandro Rocha), learn that the favela dwellers also make money by other means including illegal TV and internet connections. Rocha's group form a militia and monopolize the favela's black market, setting up an extremely profitable protection and extortion racket that also has the favor of local politicians wanting to keep drug dealers out of the favelas.

A group of disguised militia raid a police station in the Tanque (the last drug dealing reduct in the west side of Rio) and steal a number of guns. It is part of a plan of the corrupt officers and politicians to create an excuse to raid the slum and get rid of the local dealers. Nascimento assures the Secretary that there is no evidence that the dealers have taken the weapons after listening to 300 hours worth of phone calls. Corrupt Lieutenant Colonel Fabio Barbosa (Milhem Cortaz), however, states that a "reliable source" blamed the dealers, and the raid is authorized by the governor.

Matias, who was brought back into BOPE by Rocha, knows that the dealers always flee the slum running past the police station, whose corrupt officers will do nothing. Therefore, he and his BOPE men replace the corrupt officers to catch the fleeing dealers by surprise. The next day, BOPE team arrives and attacks the dealers, who are shot dead when they pass by the station. Local drug lord Pepa tries to escape, but is ultimately cornered by Matias, who thinks he's got the guns and tortures him into talking. Rocha, along with Fabio and other corrupt officers, arrives and kills Pepa, enraging Matias, who has his BOPE soldiers carry away the dealer's body, and then confronts Rocha about the situation, only to be shot dead in the back by one of Rocha's men, under Fabio's protests.

Promising himself to find out the truth about Andre's death, Nascimento uses his power to tap Fraga's telephone, knowing that he has been investigating the militias as well after hearing it from Rafael, who is an intern in Fraga's office. Meanwhile, Clara tries to make a story, and goes into one of Rocha's favelas with a photographer to collect information about corrupt officers. However, just as Clara tells Fraga by telephone what she just discovered, they are caught by Rocha and his group, and Fraga hears Rocha's voice before Rocha has Clara and the photographer murdered, who will now have to put Fraga down since he is now a witness.

Due to the tap, Nascimento also hears her final phone talk and deduces Fraga is the next target. Since Fraga is with Rosane and Rafael, he records the data, takes it with him and goes after his family. Just after he leaves, Formoso finds out about his wiring and warns the corrupt officers about this. Nascimento heads for Fraga's apartment while trying to phone Rosane, but she deliberately ignores the calls due to him not giving attention to their son. Fraga, Rafael and Rosane arrive, and two men in a motorcycle try to execute Fraga, but end up shooting Rafael in the chest after Nascimento guns them.

After Rafael is taken to the hospital, Nascimento leaves and brutally beats up the secretary for hurting his family. The next day, the President of the Legislative Assembly decides to open an investigation over Clara's possible murderer (due to the lack of bodies, the police is treating the case as kidnapping), and Nascimento is expelled from the Secretary and the military police for illegally tapping Fraga's phone in the effort to have Nascimento humiliated. However, the secretary keeps him alive, because if he is murdered before the court, he will become a matyr for human rights, causing a national scandal and Fraga would accuse the secretary for the murder, causing his party to lose the elections, but Rocha, knowing that, if Nascimento testifies, all the incoming trouble will be blamed on the militia and therefore Rocha, so he decides to go with the murder.

That night, Nascimento arrives at the hospital, where Rafael is slowly recovering after his surgery. He tells Rosane to call him anytime she needs him, and then leaves the hospital, showing the opening scene again. As he leaves, a man on his voice chatter informs Rocha about his departure, while another car follows Nascimento. Rocha arrives with his convoy and starts shooting at Nascimento, but the other car's occupants exit and start shooting at Rocha's men, revealing themselves to be BOPE officers, as Nascimento predicted the attempt on his life. Overwhelmed by BOPE's officers, Rocha escapes.

The next day, Nascimento is called on a trial at the Legislative Assembly and testifies with Fraga for over three hours at the court, accusing many politicians and officers. In the aftermath, Gregorio Fortunado (André Mattos), a state representative and local sensationalist and conservative TV presenter who aids the militia is sentenced to prison and many corrupt officers and their allies are killed to avoid witnesses, and Fabio himself lures Rocha on his boat and then murders him and his unit and dumps him in the ocean. The governor, however, manages to be reelected and Guaracy is now a state representative in the Federal Chamber of Deputies, as well as Fraga, as the two start a rivalry. Nascimento ends his narration with a reflection over the influence of politicians on the social issues of Brazil, while images of Brasília are shown. In the end, he arrives at the hospital, where his son finally wakes up.


  • Wagner Moura as Roberto Nascimento, Lieutenant Colonel of the PMERJ and Undersecretary of Rio de Janeiro Public Safety for Intelligence. Former BOPE officer for the last 20 years, he has been promoted to Undersecretary simply to satisfy the public. His tactics to destroy the drug dealers were efficient, but caused the current leading party to take over Rio de Janeiro.
  • Irandhir Santos as Diogo Fraga, a History teacher who becomes a State Representative after the Bangu I controversy. Rosane's new husband, he is a left-wing politician who tries to enrol himself in the Federal Chamber of Deputies.
  • André Ramiro as Captain André Matias, a BOPE commander.
  • Maria Ribeiro as Rosane, ex-wife of Nascimento and now married to Fraga.
  • Sandro Rocha (pt) as Captain/Major Rocha, the main antagonist of the film. Rocha had a small role in the first film, being one of the seargants under Fabio's control.
  • Milhem Cortaz portrays Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel Fabio Barbosa. Still very corrupt, as a competitor and also as an accomplice of Major Rocha. Still friends with André Mathias, who saved his life thirteen years ago (the first film in the series).
  • Tainá Müller plays Clara, a journalist. In the film, Mathias reads her interview on the scrapping of the BOPE, after being expelled from the same battalion because of the events in the rebellion in Bangu I and then assists the Deputy Diogo Fraga in the investigation of the militias.
  • Seu Jorge as Beirada, a criminal responsible for the Bangu I uprising.
  • André Mattos plays Fortunato, State Representative and host of a tabloid TV show.
  • Emilio Neto Orciollo Valmir plays a cop who works in the administrative area.


Casting and characters[edit]

The first member to be acknowledged was Wagner Moura, who returns with his character Roberto Nascimento, now promoted from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel. In Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Nascimento is 40 years old and has a slightly grayer hair. André Ramiro is also back as Captain André Matias (promoted from Officer Cadet); the actor was prepped by professionals from the CATI-SWAT to give orders to the cops on-screen. Musician and actor Seu Jorge (who played Mané Galinha in City of God) was invited by director José Padilha to act as one of the antagonists, Beirada; Maria Ribeiro is also back as Roseane, who is no longer married to Nascimento, but to a left wing Congressman. Tainá Müller, who was not in the first film, plays Clara, representing the media. Sandro Rocha, who had little on-screen time during the first film, has a bigger role now, playing Major Rocha, known as Russo (Russian), boss of the militia.

Cast preparation[edit]

Between November and December 2009, before recording for the film started, all the actors - except Maria Ribeiro, pregnant at the time - had a training routine, led by Fátima Toledo. Part of the cast also went through a boot camp in Rio, coordinated by Paulo Storani, security adviser, and with the participation of members from BOPE and CATI. André Ramiro said, "They treated us like real cops. No 'I'm-too-important'. I also had to say 'No, sir. Yes, sir'". Wagner Moura had Jiu-Jitsu lessons from fighter Rickson Gracie. The training helped bring a degree of reality to the film; actors had to learn the proper techniques to handle weapons and also action strategies in risk-zones, besides a strong fitness program, laid heavy on those who weren't in the first movie.

Filming and post-production[edit]

Filming started on January 25 of 2010, with the participation of eighty real cops as extras. On February 1, recording took place at Morro Dona Marta, in the Botafogo borough, with the use of two helicopters and heavy guns, leading to next-door neighbors thinking it was a real shoot-out. For the scenes happening at the Bangu 1 prison, forty professionals worked during two months constructing a 500m² detention center, based on notations from art director Tiago Marques about the place, since they didn't get clearance to take pictures of the real building. The scenes at the prison were recorded during the four days of the 2010 carnival. One of the film scenes would be shot at the House of Congress in Brasília, but production couldn't get permission. A fake Ethics Committee was built inside the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro, recording took place at April 15. Filming was done in the same month and the film went to post-production.


Strategy against leaks[edit]

After the first film leaked and got in the hands of millions of people before the official release date,[7] the Elite Squad 2 crew created a strategy to avoid the same thing happening to the sequel. Before production began, Marcos Prado informed that, "This time we will have a special security scheme. We will have a security team watching over the editing, transporting the reels, and paying close attention to every little detail. The raw material will be preserved". Director José Padilha concluded, "We won't outsource any of the steps. We are doing the whole post-production at our company, inside our 'caveirão'". The script was sent to the National Agency of Cinema under the title "Organized crime" and was printed with red ink, to avoid photocopying. The production unit rented an apartment, monitored by cameras, where editing took place. Four people had access to the place, only through passwords, and no means of accessing the Internet. Another strategy used was the marking of each copy sent to the theaters; that way if any of the copies was illegally recorded, they would know where it came from. Military policemen from São Paulo also helped in avoiding the leak. The final picture, still with no sound, was put in a safe.


Elite Squad: The Enemy Within was critically acclaimed. Based on 42 reviews, the film received a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 71 based on 18 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Domestic release[edit]

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within broke national opening weekend records in Brazil, with more than 1.25 million spectators during its first weekend.[8] This opening was the 5th biggest in Brazilian history and the biggest one for a Brazilian film, so far. A total of 696 theaters are screening the film about 8 times each day. In three weeks, the film surpassed the mark of R$ 60 million in gross revenue and over six million viewers becoming the most successful Brazilian film of the 21st century so far on local theaters. In just nine weeks, the film surpassed 10 million viewers on theaters throughout the country becoming the highest box office of a local film in Brazilian history.

United Kingdom release[edit]

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within was released in the UK by Revolver Entertainment [9] on August 12, 2011.

United States release[edit]

The film held its United States premiere in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. Since, it has screened at several festivals, including Austin's Fantastic Fest. The film was released in New York City on November 11, 2011, and in Los Angeles on November 18, 2011.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]