Evans went into detail about those ideas but also spoke to me about how exactly he shot his first car chase, the difficulties of shooting a prison scene in the mud and how some of the characters in The Raid 2 have a slight comic book feel to them.
Here’s what he had to say.
On shooting the prison scene in The Raid 2 so that the momentum keeps going.
We have a scene in The Raid 2, a prison riot, and I wanted it to feel like for a long amount of time that it was an uninterrupted take. So we started to look at cuts on whip pans but into another movement so it feels like it flows. We keep going, keep going, keep going.
We go up on a crane, come back down and flow so it feels like it’s one shot. But obviously it’s not and we’re not trying to fool people into thinking it is. To keep the momentum going. To feel like it’s one shot. That prison scene is a big, big action sequence. It was a bitch to choreograph whilst keeping it fluid and there were a lot of extras too. We had one hundred and twenty people in there. It gets tough.
Shooting outside, in the mud. I wanted rain throughout the entire thing at first but my producer said that we couldn’t afford the rain for that much time. So I had it raining for the start of the shot and then after that it stopped and we have a fight scene in the mud. The mud got so high after seven or eight days. The art department were just chucking on fresh mud every day and then when they wetted it down again it became like soup. It was coming up to your ankles. You could barely move. I lost a pair of shoes in there.
Getting out of the corridors of The Raid and moving outside. And how he shot his first car chase.
We did a lot of outdoor stuff on The Raid 2. A lot of different locations. When it came to The Raid 2 it just made sense that we’d have these sequences outdoors. I wanted to explore different action designs too.
I wanted to try a car chase for example. The first car chase I’d done. It was nuts. Even then we have restricted space again [as in Safe Haven or The Raid]. We have the car chase but inside one of the cars we have a fight scene going on. There are three or four people fighting inside the car while they’re driving through the streets. We did a couple of modifications [to the car] here and there.
We did one shot that was really fucking hard where we’re inside the one car and then we see a little bit of the fight and then at the end of that moment we pull the camera out and back and we see another car coming up. Then we go into that one and see a little bit of movement and then we go to back window and see the other car.
We didn’t have really good effects or anything, or big rigs. We did it practically. We started playing around with this technique on The Raid of keeping the camera moving through an action scene even if it was something that seemed a bit dangerous. We’d do a pass off. So you have the camera on a rig and then you pass it, then the operator takes it and then passes it on. Da da da da.
So we did a two person pass off during the car chase [in The Raid 2]. Everything moving. We’re driving along and we have to get to same speed. When we’re at the same speed the DOP says now and he puts it [the camera] in. They start fighting and then he pulls it out. He pulls it out, the car slows down and the other one speeds up. The other car starts to come up and as they join speeds you push in and pass off to the next guy. The guy is inside waiting for the camera [mimes someone ducked down] comes in and takes it. Out through the window and then across.
And that was a fucking brutal shot. Because we tried lots of ways to do it and couldn’t do it. We were umming and aahhing about having them all on a flatbed and being able to control it with the dolly track. Then we were worrying about having to paint the road in and that sort of shit, and getting worried about it looking fake. So we were concerned about that. And then we thought maybe we could do it all green screen but that was even more worrying. Then it could look really fake and really shitty. Especially in daylight you can’t hide much. So basically we thought after weeks and months of trying to prep it we were like, lets just fucking do it.
The bad guys in The Raid 2 and the way in which the sequel is more heightened than the first film.
The bad guys – especially the bad guys – [in The Raid 2] have a certain kind of like a comic book element, but still in a certain reality. Still in the world of reality. They’re not eye patches and shit like that, not that far.
For the hammer girl one what we decided was that it’s a brother and sister double-act. There’s Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man. I’m terrible with names. They’re brother and sister. This isn’t in the film but in the back story is the idea that since they were children they’ve been raised into this position of being killers. There’s a certain immaturity in them, they’re violent but there’s an immaturity. And so we wanted to reflect that in the film. We have these little touches, these little flourishes. They almost feel like they’re from the world of a comic book, in terms of how their characters originate. We have little beats and little touches. Shots here and there that hint at that comic book world but at the same time the pain is real and the violence is real.
It’s gonna be different this one. It kind of skirts that idea of, for instance, when we’re talking with the gangsters it’s very much of that genre. When we come to the assassins they’re very much of that comic book genre. When you come to Rama’s (Iko Uwais) life it’s very much of the first film. So it’s kind of like a mish mash of different influences and different styles. And the tricky thing with this one is to find the way of presenting these things, which are larger than life, in a way that still feels grounded in a certain element of reality. We don’t defy the laws of physics or anything like that. No-one’s flying or does supernatural shit but we do stretch at it a little bit. We tug a little bit at the realms of reality.
Brendon will be back with some interesting news about Gareth Evans a little later on, so do be sure to keep an eye on the site or the BCoolFilm Twitter feed.