The Raid was bloody brilliant martial arts action, unlike anything US audiences had ever seen – cinematic adrenaline junkies like me included. Creator Gareth Evans knocked moviegoers on their ass with a fury of flying fists and kicks, introducing us to the Indonesian art form of Pencak Silat – a means of battle more focused on rhythmic movements than brutish body slams. For fans of The Raid, it came as no surprise that US remake right were snatched up almost instantly, along with the reveal that Evans planned to turn his action hit into a trilogy, which is finally coming to fruition with The Raid 2.
I’ve already screened Evan’s second ass-kicker, and can joyously confirm that every bit of high-flying action is doubled this time around, challenging unimaginable scenes of punishment already found in The Raid. Lead star Iko Uwais returns with a vengeance, beautifully bashing his way through a sea of henchmen, only proving that this up-and-coming star has a long career of fight sequences awaiting his expertise. The Raid 2 ups the ante every way a sequel should, and Gareth Evans has me giddily excited for a third installment already.
Even though The Raid 2 unfortunately hit some screening snags at this year’s South by Southwest, I’d been lucky enough to catch a New York City screening and was able to interview Evans while at the film festival in Austin. Talking in an abandoned warehouse that looked like a set piece from one of his movies, we avoided hotel filming restrictions for one of the most interesting interview set-ups I’ve ever encountered. Standing next to this Redwood of a man, I pressed Gareth for all things The Raid – from Iko’s stardom to the daunting task of delivering non-stop action.
Check it out in the video below and be sure to catch The Raid 2 as it’s now in theatres!