Director Gareth Evans has been doing the rounds promoting his new Sky Atlantic series Gangs of London (it’s bloody good stuff) and recently stopped by the Empire podcast to chat about a jumble of different subjects, including his standout action films, The Raid and The Raid 2. The conversation soon turned to why there hasn’t been a third film featuring Jakarta’s ‘rookie’ special tactics officer Rama (Iko Uwais) kicking people in the face. As huge fans of both of Evans’ Raid movies and watching people get kicked in the face, it’s certainly a question we’ve asked ourselves.
Well, from Evans’ point of view, he didn’t really think Rama’s story had any gas left in the tank after the conclusion of the second film.
“I couldn’t fathom of another fucking reason why he would put his life at risk and separate himself from his fucking wife and kid again,” he explained. “I was like, it can’t be about Rama. It just can’t, because if he does something to pull himself away from his poor fucking wife and kid again, I’d be like, “Hmm, you sort of deserve to die now really. Take some responsibility and be a father for a change!”
Evans, who instead followed up The Raid 2 with his Dan Stevens-led weirdfest, Apostle, then happily told us all what would have gone down in The Raid 3, should it ever have materialized.
“The story was going to go back in time to the moment in The Raid 2 when the Goto Gang, the Japanese gang, are having a meeting, and Goto tells his right-hand man to take care of it, wipe out every corrupt cop and politician that they have on the books and start fresh. The Raid 3 would begin with Rama coming out of that building after having killed everybody and saying ‘No, I’m done’. He walks away to [police officer] Bunawar, who’ll be waiting for him in his car, he gets in and drives away. And you stay with the Japanese gang, who are like, ‘What the fuck do we do now? Everyone’s dead, we’ve got no-one to kill.’ They get into their car, and as they’re driving along all of a sudden this other car rocks up alongside them and just blitzes them, and the cars crash. Goto, his son, and his right-hand man are the only remaining survivors from that attack, and it cuts to credits and says ‘The Raid 3’.
“Then it would jump back in time. The idea was that the right-hand man, after being told to kill off all the politicians and cops and wipe the clean slate, would call back to Tokyo to the big huge boss, and be like, ‘Goto’s going fucking nuts. This is fucking crazy, what do I do?’ The call from HQ is, ‘Keep him still, keep him close, we’ll send people to take care of it, and if you do that for us, you can take over his turf.’ The attack goes wrong – it’s a kill squad from Japan who have turned up and taken out the Gotos. Goto has no idea that this right-hand man has betrayed him and set him up for the ambush.
“They go off into hiding, all the way to the jungles of West Java. Goto arranges to meet up with this old mafia boss (played by) Christine Hakim, who has trained killers in her jungle retreat. She’s providing protection for Goto because they go way back, she’s the one who introduced him to Jakarta in the first place. The idea is this Japanese kill squad that’s used to the streets of Tokyo suddenly have to deal with the terrain of a jungle-hunt, a bit like Predator in a way. Christine’s militia, these guerrilla kids, would be taking care of this Japanese intrusion on their land. I didn’t work out the whole thing, but at some point Goto’s son would have got killed, he would have realised that it was the right-hand man who betrayed him all along, and they’d have some real gnarly tribal way of dealing with him. And Goto and this guerrilla gang of Indonesian killers would then go back to Tokyo in order to fucking take care of the people that ordered to kill him.”
In just a few short minutes, Evans put the words ‘The Raid 3‘, ‘kill squad’, ‘jungle retreat’ and ‘a bit like Predator’ together there, but …he doesn’t think we’d all enjoy it (?!). “I definitely think it would have pissed off an awful lot of people, so maybe now they know what I had planned, people will be like, ‘You know what, don’t worry about The Raid 3, we’re good!’”
In the end, it seems distance = speed x time when it came to making The Raid into a trilogy.
“Before I knew it, I was five years down the line, I’d made Apostle, we were starting to get production going on Gangs of London. I couldn’t see myself going back out to make The Raid 3. My interests had moved on to other projects. You work with other people, you meet other people and want to work with them again, you want to try different things, you find a story that suddenly captures your attention and that’s the thing you want to do next. Things get offered to you that are hard to pass up on.”