Now that production has wrapped and we’re less than a year away, it seems strange to just be learning about actors that are going to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but if this latest bit of news does in fact turn out to be true, it has the potential to be totally badass. Three actors who play significant roles in Gareth Evans’ bonkers action flicks The Raid and The Raid 2 are apparently going to show up in The Force Awakens.
According to Twitch’s sources, the trio of Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman will lend their crazy martial art talents to J.J. Abrams’ upcoming space opera. There’s no word about who they play, if they’re good or evil, or even if we’ll see them in any capacity other than glorified stunt performers. But none of that matters because whatever they’re doing will be awesome, and this is a huge piece of good news for all of you hoping for more practical action rather than CGI composites.
If you haven’t seen either of the Raid movies, they’re the best, most intense action and martial arts movies since Ong Bak. The biggest knock against the prequels is that they rely too heavily on computer generated special effects and green screen. These three performers have shown repeatedly that they don’t need wires or technology to deliver incredible fight scenes, and they’re just as good hand-to-hand as they are with a variety of weapons (lightsabers?). We know that Abrams and company have made it a point of emphasis to use more practical effects wherever they can, and it’s impossible not to get excited about the prospect of these three upping the fight game in The Force Awakens exponentially.
Uwais plays Rama, the hero of both The Raid and The Raid 2, while Ruhian plays Mad Dog, the big bad in the first film (there’s technically a villain who ranks above him, but he’s not nearly as badass as Mad Dog and the best fights are between he and Rama), and Prakoso, a reluctant hobo assassin in the second. Rahman only shows up in the sequel, credited as “Assassin,” but delivers one of the most brutal sequences in a movie full of them.
More than anything this means that we can look forward to some kickass physical action. Uwais has the potential to become a global star, and hopefully he and his compatriots have meaty enough parts that The Force Awakens will help raise their international profile. Given how this is coming out, so far after the fact, I don’t expect they will play huge roles, but I don’t really care because the idea of insanely talented martial artists bouncing around in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is definitely something to get excited about.