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Last updated: April 10, 2014 4:40 pm
Few careers have been more unlikely than that of director Gareth Evans. A film graduate from the University of Glamorgan, he helped people learn Welsh over the internet until a chance meeting in his late twenties with a delivery man who also happened to be a gob-smackingly elastic martial artist (Iko Uwais, his star and muse ever since). Uwais switched Evans on to pencak silat, an ancient Indonesian fighting art. Evans’ handful of films – about gangsters and their henchmen, dispatched like so many high-kicking rats – might be preposterously gory but they have a biting immediacy and vision.
Evans even choreographs all the fights himself – a feat, since the sequences, some set to Handel’s Suite in D minor, are absurdly, ferociously complicated. Apparently he does all this with the help of his dad. The thousand new ways Uwais finds to break legs and slash throats in his new film The Raid 2! You sit, smeary-faced, as Evans exhausts one cold-blooded hoodlum confrontation after another – in prisons, in restaurants, on the subway. It is so expertly played, it never becomes stupid; still, be warned that the film’s dizzyingly high body count can leave you feeling a little debauched.
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