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Gareth Evans' The Raid premières in Cardiff

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 10:01 UK time, Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Welsh première of Indonesian action thriller The Raid, directed by Gareth Evans, takes place in Cardiff this evening.

Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans

Evans is originally from Hirwaun in the Cynon Valley and graduated from the University of Glamorgan with a MA in Scriptwriting for Film and Television.

He was named by Variety as one of 2012's "directors to watch" and has written, edited and directed The Raid, which goes on general release in the UK this Friday.

The Raid is Evans' third directorial feature. Set in the slums of Jakarta the film's main focus and setting is an impenetrable 30 floor apartment block, a safe house that is home to some of the city's most hardened criminals.

A SWAT team is tasked with taking down the notorious drug baron who runs the safe house and it falls to the rookie member of the team Rama, played by Iko Uwais, to complete the mission.

Evans' fascination with Asian cinema began when he was a child, after he watched his first Bruce Lee film Enter The Dragon at what was probably too early an age, by his own admission.

He moved to Indonesia in 2007 and worked on a documentary called Land Of Moving Shadows about the lesser known martial art Pencak Silat.

The Raid publicity film poster

The Raid publicity film poster

It was during filming that Evans started to realise the art's cinematic potential. In filming the documentary he met his future leading actor Iko Uwais, a student who was a delivery driver at the time.

The Raid is Evans' second foreign language film collaboration with Uwais; their first was Merantau, in which Uwais was the star and fight choreographer, and which first highlighted the art of Pencak Silat.

Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais

Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais

The Raid combines Pencak Silat with other martial art disciplines, fighting styles and weaponry and is the first in a planned trilogy of films surrounding its main character Rama. The sequel will be called Berandal.

The Raid played to sold-out crowds at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. Unashamedly violent and gory, and most definitely one for the over 18s only, the film has picked up many rave reviews and has scooped a number of awards.

These include the Midnight Madness People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival plus both the Audience Award for best film and the Dublin Film Critics Award for best film at the Dublin International Film Festival in February 2012.

Iko Uwais in The Raid
Iko Uwais in The Raid

Iko Uwais in The Raid

Another string to the film's bow is that the musical score has been composed by Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda, marking his début foray into the word of film score composing. He's teamed up with Joseph Trapanese for the score, who has recently worked on Tron: Legacy with Daft Punk.

The Raid opens in UK cinemas this Friday, 18 May.

Tune into this Friday's Kermode and Mayo's Film Review on Radio 5 Live to hear what Mark and Simon make of the film.

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