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'The Raid 2' star Iko Iwais and writer/director Gareth Evans teach us about action

Matt Pais, @mattpais

RedEye movie critic

12:00 AM CDT, April 3, 2014

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If you like action movies and can handle on-screen violence, “The Raid 2” almost without question will be the best movie you’ve seen in a long time. Seriously: The fight sequences are unbelievable, and the movie, again written and directed by Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans and starring Indonesian martial artist/action star Iko Uwais, kicks things up about 500 notches from 2012’s overrated, repetitive “The Raid: Redemption.”

At the Peninsula Hotel, Evans, 33, and Uwais, 31, taught me and my colleague Chris Sosa, a black belt in tae kwon do, fight choreography.

Watch video from this interview here

On a fight between Rama (Uwais) and about 15 people in a prison bathroom stall:

“We designed the set in a way so that the cubicle walls [were] on a hinge. ... The thing is in a tight space, you can get away with just shooting it [from one angle and another angle and from above] and it still works, but we wanted to do something more interesting with the camera. We wanted to really throw you into the middle of it and get that feeling of how tight the space is.” (GE)

How many people Uwais kills in “The Raid 2”:

“More than one.” (IU)

On possible injury:

“I think the one I was more worried about for injuries was the [outdoor] prison riot. And it’s not because the choreography was so dangerous. It was the ground that we were on. It was muddy, and it was slippery as hell. It’s deceptive. It’s so thick, the mud, you think if you fall it’s going to cushion you. But every time we’d fall you’d go straight through the mud and hit the concrete underneath. Our art department, they did a lot of stuff that was good. But on that one there were a lot of broken tiles underneath the mud. We all cut our feet.” (GE)

More problems with mud:

“The worst was you get [the shot] perfect—the movement is right, the camera is right, the fighters are right, and on the final block mud will fly off their arm and then go hit the lens. That was the most annoying thing ‘cause we were bringing the camera low a lot. We were coming down low and then right in the middle of the action. Almost every shot it would happen at least once. It was a pain in the ass, man. There’s one or two shots that still have in the far, far, far corner of the screen you’ll see a little smear of mud because we were running out of time.

“We had these white silk sheets across the entire ceiling of the structure because in Indonesia we don’t have a consistent sky for lighting for the film. So the clouds will form and disappear within 10 minutes or so. But the downside is at 12 o’clock in the afternoon, when it’s the hottest and it gets hot for the next three hours, inside that environment it was like you were being cooked in there.” (GE)

On part of the risk involved in a wildly elaborate shot during a car chase, requiring an expensive camera to be passed between speeding cars:

“We were using [it] without any rigging. Without any sort of grips or handles or anything because they just wouldn’t fit through the window otherwise. So we were having to just grab hold of the box and push it through and hope nobody dropped it. And I sat in the back of that car thinking, ‘Oh, please don’t mess this up.’” (GE)


On fear:

“In three movies now I’ve asked him to kill so many different people in so many different ways, and the only little problem he had was about having to take some clothing off. We had a lot of conversations about that, right? A lot of conversations. I assured him. I said, ‘Look, we’ll only shoot you from the hip up, and you can keep your underwear on. It’s fine.’” (GE)

Why that aspect scares Uwais so much:

“You haven’t seen his ass!” (GE)

Watch Matt review the week's big new movies Fridays at noon on NBC.

mpais@tribune.com

 

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