Is this the most violent film of the year?

By Helen Barlow

Is The Raid 2: Berandal the most violent film of 2014? We chat to director Gareth Evans.
Julie Estelle as 'Hammer Girl' in The Raid 2: Berandal.
Julie Estelle as 'Hammer Girl' in The Raid 2: Berandal.

Gareth Evans had returned to the scene of the crime. The Welsh Jakarta-based director behind 2012 brutal martial arts spectacular The Raid has delivered The Raid 2: Berandal.

It's another showcase for the Indonesian fighting style of Pencak Silat. It also allows the action of the first film - which took place within a single apartment block - to burst out into the city around it, in what is possibly the most violent movie you'll see this year.

It does come with new new characters - say hello to Julie Estelle's "Hammer Girl" - and a car chase which took 15 days to shoot. But The Raid 2 is actually the movie Evans wanted to make all along ...

How quickly after The Raid did you start working on The Raid 2?

The Raid 2 existed as a screenplay way before The Raid. I wanted to make a film called Berandal [the Indonesian title and the local word for thug] and after trying for two years we discovered nobody would pay this much money to make a film in Indonesia.

So The Raid was a back-up, something we could do cheap and quick. Thankfully audiences seemed to like it, so we went straight into reworking the script and incorporating the undercover cop elements. In the original version it wasn't about an undercover cop. It was about an everyday guy who beat up the wrong guy and politicians had him arrested and thrown in prison.

Which was the hardest fight scene to shoot?

The hardest one I think in terms of being taxing for everyone was probably the prison raid mainly because we were in the mud for eight days straight. I lost a pair of shoes and I cut my foot a little bit as well. Mud would splash on the camera lens in an otherwise perfect take. But the car chase was a bitch.

It took longer than expected?

Yes. We scheduled it for seven days and then every day we turned up on set at 4 am to prepare to start shooting at 6.30am. But it doesn't matter if you've got a permit in Indonesia they can shut you down. The police can open up the streets at 9am. So pretty much every single day we lost 50 per cent of our shooting time.

Why did you edit the film yourself?

I'm a disgusting control freak. Actually it's hard not to. When we design the fight scenes we shoot a video storyboard in pre-production and I'm so involved in that, in choosing those shots and the edits of that sequence to get the fight scene right, that if it doesn't match the tone of the fight scene going into the drama then maybe I feel like something's quite wrong.

Who are your influences as a director of action?

I feel like I've learnt a lot from Sam Peckinpah. He's the pioneer of it all. And John Woo and Jackie Chan. But I steal from everybody.

Did anyone get hurt on the film?

We had a few ropey moments but nothing was really that bad. One guy had a concussion that we were worried about at first, but when we took him to hospital he was ok. It was the first day for action scenes ... I felt bad for the guy but he came back and actually participated in the prison riot.

Watch the trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal (warning: explicit content):

Video

* The Raid 2 (R18) opens on March 28. See tomorrow's TimeOut for a full review of the film.

- NZ Herald

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