MERANTAU's Iko Uwais To Return In BERANDAL

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MERANTAU's Iko Uwais To Return In BERANDAL
Okay, martial arts fans, here's one for you. Word got out that writer-director Gareth Huw Evans was re-teaming with his Merantau star Iko Uwais for an upcoming project when that film - titled Berandal - was accepted into the NAFF co-production market running in parallel with the PiFan festival in Korea. Though the film is still months away from production we've got a first look for you including the key art to the left, the official synopsis and - best of all - a proof of concept video shot in a single day a few months ago to who off the tone of the film. Before really kicking off, I should say in the interest of full disclosure that I'm a producer on this, which is why I've got access to all of this stuff. Let's start with the synopsis:

Rama, a young man in his mid-20s sits on a toilet looking down at his feet contemplating just how he got here, just how he ended up wearing that prison uniform and just how his name ended up just a string of numbers printed onto his pocket. Once a food stall seller, an act of defense cost him his freedom, his liberty and the love of his fiancé Dwi.

Detained for 5 years after leaving her attacker paralysed in a fit of rage, Rama arrives in a maximum-security prison alone and not accustomed to the criminal world. Instantly a target for the gangs that fight against each other for supremacy and control he is taken in by Uco, the son of a leading gangster, Bangun.

Initially at war with each other, their friendship is sealed after an attempt on Uco's life by his own men during a prison riot sees Rama step in and save him from certain death. Vowing to be there for him when he is finally released, five years later, after serving his time, the gates open and Rama steps out into a new life taken in by Uco's underworld organisation.

Igniting Uco's ambition Bejo, a small-time hood leader with plans of up scaling his operations seizes the opportunity to convince this headstrong son that now is the time for him to assume control of his father's organization. Controlling him like a puppet in a downward spiral of murder, betrayal and corruption Rama's friendship to Uco is tested to breaking point as their paths begin to drift.

Losing sight of loyalty, friendship even blood ties Uco is consumed by his increasing power as he creates a gang war taking out his Father's most trusted men and pinning the blame on their rivals. A choice must be made between the power on the throne, or its reckless inheritor. Every move Rama makes will test his loyalty, every decision will change his path leading him further into the violence and bloodshed he is so desperate, yet so powerless to escape.
So, the first thing you should notice here is that the tone is going to be entirely different from Merantau. Where the first film was a family drama that evolved into a full out martial arts spectacle this one starts right off as a prison gang movie. Expect two major fight sequences within the first ten minutes, much more varied environments, a great use of weapons, and a whole lot more blood. There will still be attention paid to character but this one is designed to be a full on action film from start to finish.

Second, the key art. The tonal difference is obvious right away there, too, and most important is how different Uwais - so baby faced in Merantau - looks now. They've had him in the gym bulking up his upper body and shaved his head. The difference is so dramatic that when Evans sent me some choreography walk through videos a few weeks back - Uwais and co-star Yayan Ruhian (Eric in Merantau) going through things at about half speed - I honestly didn't recognize Uwais at first. Ruhian looks totally different these days, too.

And now the proof of concept video. Again, this was shot in a single day with minimal budget just to show the tone of the piece, so it's not fully polished. It's also important to note that it was done before Uwais shaved his head and began his training regimen in earnest so he still looks pretty much the same way he did in Merantau. None of this footage will be included in the finished film but we thought you might enjoy a little taste. The scene included is from almost the very beginning of the film. You'll recognize it from the synopsis.
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ChevalierAguilaJune 14, 2010 6:47 PM

Looks interesting, seems this time there's actually a story. Don't get me wrong, i didn't dislike Merantau, but there was really no story, at all. Like zero, nada.

Todd BrownJune 14, 2010 7:02 PM

I would never go that far but, yes, Merantau is definitely a movie based in character first and plot second. There is a lot more plot, a lot more driving the story, in Berandal.

hanzoJune 14, 2010 7:26 PM

Holy S#!t. This looks more raw and in your face compared to the other movie. I hope it has a better ending than the last one. I mean I like the movie and I know that a hero must sacrifice his life, but I like this guy so much that I want him to live. So I hope he fairs better in this one. If not, at least he goes down taking a lot of people with him. I can't wait to see this.

Todd BrownJune 14, 2010 7:43 PM

I won't comment on whether or not Iko makes it through this one but, yes, the body count is impressive.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlMkyASLggt9hZMz-HoneN7BXuQ2OpNpZwJune 14, 2010 8:37 PM

Never mess with a martial arts expert who needs his toilet.

xinoJune 14, 2010 9:49 PM

lol!

i love this guy man!

anticipation to kick @ss in the toilet!

MikeOutWestJune 15, 2010 4:17 AM

I agree that the story of Merantau was a bit thin - basically run-and-fight - but there were a whole number of great touches to it. Ratger and Luc's intro was a great piece of composition, and the scene between Yuda and Eric in the elevator was the perfect distillation of John Woo's "opposites of the same coin" concept.

I'm very glad to see Gareth continue working with Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian again, and the story concept sounds suitably epic. I also hope they use the same composer because his score for Merantau really helped accentuate the action.

DanJune 15, 2010 4:40 AM

Good luck guys,
It looks (and sounds) great!

ImprovisationJune 15, 2010 11:08 AM

Thanks for spoiling Merantau for me. Damn.

jackcoughJune 15, 2010 8:35 PM

Merantu sucked. Maybe a couple decent scenes but overall it wasn't anything special. Fight scenes were mediocre and not much of a story.

Agent WaxJune 15, 2010 11:13 PM

I don't know why people are whining about the story of Merantau. It's about how the custom of 'merantau' shows a man his worth and reveals his place in the world. It's about coming of age and making hard choices to do the right thing even at the expense of horrific sacrifices.

jackcoughJune 18, 2010 9:14 PM

You're right, so I guess because they are trying to make a movie about a man showing his worth, who gives a shit about the storyline? There are enough movies about coming of age and making hard choices. Can't use that as an excuse to not have a decent plot, which made the movie a lot harder to watch and really boring at times.

RickJuly 25, 2010 4:04 AM

Dude sweet I loved the first movie he is great! I hope to one day see him and Tony jaa fight it out that would be epic Its nice to see Asia has 2 new stars on the rise .. and their not Chinese its nice to see new cultures