Gareth Evans had a rule when choosing which movie to rent while growing up in Wales: If there is a ninja suit or a guy holding a sword on the cover, rent it.
Evans watched hundreds of martial arts films over the years, as a result, and turned his love for the genre into a writing and directing film career. His new ndonesian martial arts film — “The Raid: Redemption, in theaters Friday — revolves around a SWAT team trapped in a high-rise apartment building run by a crime lord and his thugs.
Evans showed off his expertise of martial arts films and lists the genre’s most common cliches (yes, some of which you will find in “The Raid”).
The hero: “He’s the everyman — the guy that’s totally relatable in terms of appearance and stature. When people look too perfect, it’s not cool. I like seeing faces that look like they belong to people who have lived those lives. People who look like they’ve taken hits — tough faces.”
The small guy: “He will beat the living (expletive) out of everyone and everything that moves. We have that in (‘The Raid’). The best example of that is (1988’s) ‘Police Story 2.’ The small guy in it is deaf and wears glasses and braces. He doesn’t look cool at all, but God, can he fight.”
The big guy: “Either he’s close to indestructible and the only way you can kill him is by choking him out to death or they go for the surprise element and he gets knocked out with one punch.”
The crazy guy: “They tend to be moderately dangerous. … They’re usually (in) the 45- or 50-minute-mark fight. That guy will be something of a challenge but someone (the protagonist) can surpass.”
The older boss: “There’s always a slightly older boss. We have that (in “The Raid”). He’s intimidating, but we don’t need to see him fight. It’s more about his presence. You usually want to get a really good actor to play that role because they have to carry on that danger and threat.”
Guns: “Usually what happens is a guy has a gun and it’s immediately kicked out of his hands and across the room. ‘OK, now let’s fight.’ That’s how they get away with no guns. I don’t like seeing people kick and punch when they could easily fire a gun: ‘Shoot the (expletive) guy.’ We had 30 minutes of gun play (in “The Raid”) and found weird ways to get rid of (the guns) so that when we finally unleashed the martial arts of the film, it made sense.”
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