The Jakarta Globe
The thrill ride that is the movie “The Raid,” an Indonesian indie martial arts flick that has garnered critical praise and a building box office worldwide, is just as much a roller coaster for its director, Welshman Gareth Evans, who is based in Jakarta.
“It’s been a crazy couple of months,” he said on the Insight Indonesia talk show late last week just before heading off to Paris for more screening of the low-budget thriller.
“It’s really overwhelming,” added Joe Taslim, one of the stars of the film, which opened in Indonesia in late March and has been adding screens and box office receipts steadily. “I never expected it would be this huge. Sometimes I still can’t believe it is happening.”
The film, which features pencak silat master Iko Uwais as a member of a SWAT team sent to take out of building full of bad guys, has been praised for its non-stop action and meticulous fight choreography.
Originally slated just for Indonesian release, it was picked up by Sony Picture Classics in the US.
It opened March 23 in both Indonesia and the US and has gone from just 14 screens in the US to 230 screens this past weekend.
“Action movies don’t get much more exciting or inventive,” the Hollywood Report enthused in its review.
Most other critics have been just as enthusiastic — although not Roger Ebert, the reigning dean of US critics.
“He is not our biggest fan,” said Evans smiling.
Next up for Evans will be more premieres worldwide to follow up the film’s positive reception at both the Sundance Festival and South by Southwest in the US.
A sequel to The Raid is to begin shooting next year, Evans said.