Director Gareth Evans unveiled his highly anticipated sequel “The Raid 2” on Tuesday night at the Eccles, where the Welsh filmmaker drew a standing ovation for the action extravaganza.
The print that screened boasted the film’s foreign title “The Raid 2: Berendal,” though Evans joked that it would be titled “The Raid 2: More Redemption” in the U.S. when Sony Pictures Classics releases the movie on March 28. (The original was titled “The Raid: Redemption.”)
Evans finished the film within 48 hours of its world premiere, and was excited to tell the Sundance crowd that they “get to see it before the MPAA has a heart attack.”
Those proved to be choice words, as midway through the movie, one audience member fell ill, prompting cries for help. As the commotion built, the lights came up and the movie was delayed for five minutes.
The first thing Evans asked the crowd after the film was whether the man was OK. After receiving confirmation that he was alright once he received medical attention, Evans jokingly asked “was he from the MPAA?”
“The Raid 2” finds original star Iko Uwais reprising his role as Rama, a cop who goes undercover in a prison to infiltrate a dangerous criminal syndicate.
Uwais said that all of the fight scenes were hard to shoot, as it wasn’t easy to memorize the elaborate fight choreography. Evans admitted the hardest scene to shoot as a director was an epic prison riot in the mud, as it would splash on the camera lens and ruin good takes.
Despite plenty of fighting, Evans said that injuries on set were kept to a minimum, though one performer suffered a scary concussion, while another cracked several ribs.
After receiving a standing ovation, Evans was asked whether he’d be willing to teach American filmmakers how to direct action. He deflected the question with a Sundance veteran’s skill, saying he was inspired by American filmmakers such as Sam Peckinpah, a director known for making violence felt on the big screen. Evans also said he served as the film’s editor because he’s “a disgusting conrol freak.”
Before the crowd dispersed, the cast threw “The Raid 2” trading cards into the audience, while Uwais demonstrated his speedy hand-eye coordination.
Watch the video below to see his world-class fighting skills: