If you haven’t seen Welsh director Gareth Evans’ Indonesian action movies known as The Raid series, first of all, go do that right now. If you need more incentive, let’s put it this way: do you want to know why that opening night audience you saw The Force Awakens with cheered when the Kanjiklub gang showed up to confront Han Solo, even though they don’t actually do anything except get chased and eaten by Rathtars? Of course you do. Both Raid movies feature near non-stop action. The first one is frequently compared to Dredd for some coincidental premise similarities (cops assault a building owned and run by criminals, and that’s the whole story); and the second a more traditional undercover cop tale that opens the action up to a far larger world.
Actor Yayan Ruhian, who costarred in both, even got his own Star Wars name, uttered aloud: Tasu Leech. There’s a Lego minifig of him that comes with the Millennium Falcon, and an action figure coming in the next 4″ wave.
It’s unlikely we’ll see more of Leech in Star Wars, but we can see Yayan reuniting with the director who put him on the map and paying tribute to the original Star Wars‘ Akira Kurosawa inspirations in this samurai short, simply labeled “Pre Vis Action” on YouTube. (It’s un-embeddable, so you’ll have to click that title to watch.) Like in The Raid films, its plot is secondary to–and arguably inseparable from–the action, but here it is:
In a time of civil war, a young warrior is given the task of delivering a treaty between two rival lords. During her journey through the woods however, she finds herself hunted by two assassins intent on intercepting her message of peace in a bid to maintain the fear, instability and violent rule of their leader.
Evans shot the whole thing in three days in Wales and demonstrates unmistakably that he hasn’t just been relying on the fighting talents of his actors. His editing skills are integral to the rhythm and flow. He also wanted to demonstrate that he could keep the action bloodless, not be hard-R all the time, and still keep it cool.
We’d say he succeeded. But what do you think? And does the fact that he calls this “Pre Vis” indicate that it’s prep for something bigger? Would you want a PG-13 Gareth Evans samurai flick?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image: YouTube/Gareth Evans