As far as 2012’s action movie offerings go, it’s going to be very difficult to top “The Raid: Redemption,” in theaters this Friday (March 23). No, there are no girls on fire, no mockingjay pins, no love triangles. But what “The Raid” has that its weekend rival “Hunger Games” does not, solid though it may be, is Silat. And that makes all the difference.
Silat, a form of Indonesian martial arts, is front and center all throughout “The Raid,” directed by Gareth Evans. In the film, an elite team storms a crime-ridden apartment building to take out the seemingly untouchable crime boss Tama. But when a twist of fate alerts the building’s criminals to the police squad’s presence, all hell breaks loose, and the surviving cops go up against round after endless round of cracked-out bad guys in an all-out battle for their lives.
“The Raid” is filled with an intense, adrenaline-pumping, balls-through-the-wall kind of action rarely seen in movies nowadays. Much of that is thanks to the work of Silat experts and “Raid” co-stars Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, who play the heroic Rama and maniacal Mad Dog respectively.
Evans walked MTV News through the anatomy of a “Raid” fight scene, which always starts with “bullet-point details in the script” before being fully fleshed out with Iko and Yayan.
“I won’t write punch for punch, kick for kick. I’ll kind of give Iko, Yayan and myself — the three of us would just get together in a room, and design all of the fight scenes for three months. That was the very first step of it all,” said Evans. “I’ll tell them, okay, we’re in a corridor space. It’s going to be two meters wide. You have a stick in one hand, a knife in the other. You have a partner on your shoulder, but he’s injured, he’s shot, so he can’t stand up on his feet. Every time you move him out of the way to protect him from an attacker — whether that’s from the front, the back, the side — his body’s going to adjust, so you have to keep him on his feet. That kind of thing informs the movement through the corridor.”
“Then we progress. ’At this point, you’re going to lose the stick. At this point, you’re going to lose the knife,'” the director continued. “They filled in the blanks with the technical Silat elements then. They’re very nice guys, very polite and humble and gentle people. When it comes to the more aggressive elements, that’s where I come in and notch it up a little bit.”
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