While I am decidedly not a fan of 2010’s low-budget alien invasion flick Skyline, in the wake of the announcement that it’s getting a sequel, there are apparently a lot more people out there who are totally stoked on this than I initially expected. And while I wasn’t particularly on board with Beyond Skyline at first, I’m getting there, because they’re putting together one hell of a cast. It’s like they asked who I want to see fight aliens on screen and they’re putting them all in one movie. The latest additions are Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, and if you don’t know them, you should.
Uwais and Ruhian are two of the stars of Gareth Evan’s batshit crazy martial arts epics The Raid and The Raid 2 (also known as The Raid: Redemption and The Raid: Berendal in some regions). These are two of the most insane action movies in recent memory, and probably the best martial arts movies since the first Ong Bak. (They’re also both in Evan’s Merantau, which his great as well.)
Uwais plays the hero, Rama, in both movies, while Ruhian plays the aptly named villain Mad Dog in the first and a sympathetic homeless assassin named Prokoso in the second. Neither one is a household name—Uwais highest profile role outside of the Raid films was a small part in Keanu Reeves underrated Man of Tai Chi—but fans of badass action know them well and should be excited about this announcement.
Variety reports that the two are joining the cast that already includes Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who is becoming the go-to-guy for gritty, low-budget action, in the lead. Liam O’Donnell, who wrote Skyline, will write and direct the sequel. I still think it’s strange that this is happening now, four years after the fact, and while the first film was profitable, it wasn’t a runaway hit. But while the timing does seem weird, I wasn’t much of a fan of The Purge, but loved The Purge: Anarchy. Maybe the Skyline franchise will follow suit. With this cast the potential is certainly there.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Uwais and Ruhian’s incredible brand of hand-to-hand combat comes into play in Beyond Skyline, but what the hell, it could very well be awesome. Producer Greg Strause, half of the brother duo that directed Skyline, said they cast these two because, “We’re showcasing a new kind of alien combat, so who better to collaborate with than the most innovative fight team in the world?”
Okay, I’m in. I stand by my feelings on Skyline, but I’m ready and excited to see what Beyond Skyline has to offer. If nothing else, maybe this will introduce Uwais and Ruhian to a wider audience and get them some of the mainstream recognition they so richly deserve. And if they happen to deliver a kick ass sci-fi action movie along the way, even better.
Beyond Skyline is expected to drop sometime in 2015.