Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Introduction

I'll start off immediately by saying I'm most likely going to be quite a shitty blogger. 

There's going to be a bunch of times where I forget to update this as production gets busier, but I hope throughout I can provide as much insight as possible into the shoot on our new film "Serbuan Maut" (aka The Raid).

Yayan Ruhian (left) and Iko Uwais (right) enjoying another day at the office.

"Serbuan Maut" came to be after spending a year trying to get "Berandal" off the ground. Berandal, a gangster, prison movie was initially meant to be Iko's follow-up after Merantau. But as that project started to grow in scope and budgets in Indonesia started to shrink to freakishly low levels we chose rather than try to shoot "Berandal" on a limited budget and lose the scope and size we wanted from it, we would shift focus and tell a different story altogether, one we could make without sacrificing quality and keeping investors happy.

For anyone that doesn't know yet, here's the official synopsis for the film:

A swat team arrives at a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord named Tama. The building has never been raided before, never been touched by police. Seen as a no go zone it has since become a sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists and thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be touched.

Making their move in the break of dawn the swat team work their way up the building under cover of silence. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and with news of their assault traveling to Tama in his penthouse suite the building is locked down with all lights out and all exits blocked.

Stranded on the 6th floor the swat team must fight their way through every floor and every room not just to complete their mission but to survive.


Since I was a kid, I was obsessed with a Chow Yun Fat film called "Peace Hotel" (Directed by Wai Ka Fai). I was never able to track it down in the UK and only had the poster image below and a vague synopsis to go by.

Peace Hotel (1995)

I loved the concept of an isolated building that offered sanctuary to criminals, but when I finally saw it over 15 years later my "imagined" version of the film was completely different to what I eventually saw. I had imagined a dark, noirish film with danger on every floor with the action confined to an interior space filled with shadows and dread. I also imagined it would have a lot more action, instead of the light hearted, sweet romantic angle the film eventually took.

But the central concept stuck with me. 

After spending most of "Merantau" sitting waiting for the rain to stop, my natural progression was to set the next film indoors as much as possible. 95% of the duration seemed about right. I started watching a bunch of films for inspiration, classics like Assault on Precinct 13 and Die Hard looking for how to structure the story, how to develop the action scenes in as natural a way as possible.

What I've always wanted to do is find a way to mix genres together, to bring more to a martial arts film than just purely the action. I know this is the key ingredient that most fans of the genre (myself included) want to see, but to me if that's the only thing of worth then it's a dull experience. 

With Serbuan Maut, we're planning to explore different shooting styles and atmospheres as the film mutates to allow tonal shifts and genre changes. The central concept of a swat team stuck inside a building with attackers all around them opens up a lot of options for us not just to explore the action choreography but to give a genuine feeling of suspense and tension, even horror.

Shooting is due to start mid-March during which I'll be posting on set photos and stories about our experiences shooting the film. Before then we have the soul crushing boredom of pre-production. Once we announce the cast or have anything interesting to share I'll post it here. In the meantime, the films DOP Matt Flannery will be posting about his experiences using the new Panasonic AG-AF100 and detailing all the rigging specifically designed for the film.

You can find his blog at:


  1. Hi guys.
    In recent days there are news that make me worried. As you know, government apply new tax for foreign movie.

    I wish this movie in Indonesia will not be considered as foreign movie nor have difficulty to be played in Indonesia cinemas.

  2. Hello,

    My name is Conor and I'm co-host of The Wireless Express Show, a movie podcast with a strong interest in action cinema.

    We would love to interview Gareth Evans and talk about Merantau and upcoming The Raid.
    We have some background in interviewing action cinema people, we have interviewed Isaac Florentine, Scott Adkins, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Larnell Stovall, Bey Logan.

    If you would like to hear the interviews, they are at wirelessexpressshow dot com.

    We conduct interviews by phone and could work around your schedule, if you'd like to talk to us please send me an email to conor [[at]] wirelessexpressshow dot com, we'd be delighted to talk to you.

    Thanks, and best of luck with production of The Raid, it looks amazing so far!