Dizzyingly high body counts are nothing new in action movies. But when those bodies are dispatched with the heart-pounding detail of The Raid: Redemption — the new R-rated Indonesian thriller about cops invading a criminal-infested building — movie fans take note. ”We didn’t go out of our way to make it violent,” says Welsh filmmaker Gareth Huw Evans, who shot the project in his adopted home of Indonesia for around $800,000. ”We wanted to show just enough to hit the audience in the stomach — like an oomph.” That’s exactly what happened at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and this year’s SXSW fest, where the movie earned buzz for its copious bloodshed and intricate fight scenes choreographed in silat, an Indonesian martial art.
Now Hollywood wants in. After buying the rights to The Raid, Sony’s Screen Gems is developing an English-language remake, which might have to tone down the gore to appeal to mainstream audiences. But that won’t be Evans’ problem: He passed on doing the U.S. version to shoot two Indonesian-language sequels. ”I just feel like I’ve done it already,” he says of the remake, adding with a laugh: ”I can’t think of any other ways to kill people.”