"The Raid 2" is a film by writer and director Gareth Evans. While it doesn't hit theaters until March 28 we got to preview the film March 18 and interview the cast. The story centers on Rama (Iko Uwais) who gets recruited by a policeman named Bunawar to join his undercover team in order to bring down the society’s gangsters. Tapping into his undercover identity as Yuda, Rama’s objective becomes lending a helping hand to Uco, the son of Mafia Don Bangun with hopes to get into his inner circle and tear them down from the inside. From the constant use of unavoidable profanity to intense car chases to very graphic gunplay, "The Raid 2" triggers a new exploration of violence and cinematography. Principally, "The Raid 2" consistently administers shock value. It is safe to say Gareth Evans knows how to push the envelope, be daring and be different. What makes "The Raid 2" stand out from most action films is the precise and detailed execution and mood given by the performances in the scenes.
Check out our exclusive interview below:
Q&A with Director & Writer Gareth Evans
Q: What are the elements of this movie that make it different from the first one?
A: We wanted to do something a lot bigger and a lot different than the first one. I hate it when I see a sequel to a film and it’s the same thing just rehashed around. It’s no point if it’s the same structure with a slightly tweaked gag. That’s not going to work for us so I wanted to make sure that what we did was expand, take those themes further, introduce more characters and also, take out the streets. Coming up with choreography for the action, it liberates me and it means I can do anything. I can get away with a car chase, I can increase the color escape of the film. In the first one, you saw a grey, dark and grungy look, in this one, you see lots of locations and color. It was an opportunity to expand as a filmmaker and expand the story as well.
Q: How was your budget this time around compared to the first one?
A: The budget is significantly bigger than the first one, but when you compare it to the stuff you guys make here, it’s like f--ing nothing at all. We made the first one for about 1.2 million, we made this one for 4.5 but you know, we are buying cars, renting out roads and stuff, we spend all of it on the screen in the end.
Q: A little birdie told me there is a "Raid 3" in the works. What are your explorations going to be for this new adventure? Perhaps more female characters?
A: I have a plan for it, yes. I can’t tell much of the details. I’m keeping quiet on "Raid 3" at the moment but the third one will start 3 hours after the ending of "Raid 2." So, we go back in time, go to this one scene and branch off from there. It’s all about fall outs and consequences due to the decisions Rama has made.
Q: Would you say the end result of "Raid 2" exceeded your expectations?
A: Haha, we’ll wait till it opens. Hopefully! In terms of personal satisfaction with the film, I am very happy with it. As a filmmaker, I am always going to watch it and criticize the sh-t out of certain elements of it but that’s natural. If a filmmaker never critiques their own film then they’ll never get it right. I just learn from my mistakes and make it better on the next one.
Q&A with Julie Estelle and Iko Uwais
Q: In what ways would you say the movie is different from the first one?
Julie: I wasn’t in the first one, but I will say this one has more characters in it and story wise, there is more drama tied into it. The first movie is only set up in one building whereas in this one, we got to explore so many places so yes, it’s very different.
Q: Iko, your character Rama takes the title of the hero in this movie. How has your character grown since the first one?
Iko: The drama in this movie is more complex so I would say my character is more emotionally challenged this time around.
Q: Julie, you’re hammer girl. How was it fighting with hammers? Was it difficult at first?
Julie: It was awesome! I loved it. I wish I had my hammers right here. It was incredible. I mean, I don’t get to fight with hammers everyday. Nobody does. It was such an incredible feeling. You get to smash people and kill them. It was fun.
Q: Did you get to choreograph that? Or did you freestyle your moves?
Julie: No, no. no. No freestyle! Yaya, Gareth and Iko.
Iko: Me, Yaya and Gareth put it together.
Julie: They had this choreography team from Indonesia that put it together.
Q: "Raid 3" is in talks at the moments, what would you like to see in this next movie for your characters?
Iko: For me, more emotion, more fighting.
Julie: More Blood.