Interview: Gareth Evans On His Stunning Action Film The Raid
In America, we don't really make straightforward action movies anymore, preferring our heroes who beat up the bad guys to be wearing superhero costumes or driving fast cars. But all of a sudden, in Indonesia, the action movie is getting an amazing revival, thanks in part to Gareth Evans, the Welsh director who moved to Indonesia with his wife and started cranking out action movies, first Merantau and now The Raid: Redemption, which has been thrilling festival audiences since it opened at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, and is now coming to theaters in limited release this Friday.
The setup is dead simple. A specially trained team is invading a 30-story apartment building ruled by a drug kingpin to bring him to justice; among the many problems, they're facing down a bunch of bad-guy badasses who are more than willing to fight back, and before too long there's just one cop left (Iko Uwais) to fight his way back out. The fighting in this movie, a lot of it the traditional Indonesia martial art Silat, is like nothing you've ever seen before, and Evans choreographs and shoots the action sequences so meticulously that every punch and kick feels perfectly placed. The movie will literally make your heart beat faster, and as much as it is a showcase for Uwais and his incredible skills, it puts Evans on the map as a filmmaker to watch as well.
I spoke to Evans last week about The Raid, how a Welshman winds up making Indonesian films anyway, how they plan every sequence of the movie in such detail there's barely room for changes on the set, and his plans for the film's sequel, which will hopefully include a car chase like you've never seen before. Check out the interview below, and do yourself the favor of catching The Raid in theaters-- before the American remake comes along and inevitably ruins the fun.
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