According to virtually every critic who watched it, The Raid 2 is one of the best action movies ever made, thanks in part to its kick-ass fight scenes. Filming those scenes though took forever because before they could be filmed, the actors needed to trust each other.
As anyone who has watched the blooper real in a Jackie Chan movie before can attest to, people can get seriously hurt while filming fight scenes and as such, they require hours of preparation and rehearsal so that the risk of being hit in the dick with a broom handle is reduced to the absolute minimum.
Using Jackie Chan as an example, the actor has been known to rehearse scenes thousands of times to get them right and over the course of his career he’s reportedly broken almost every bone in his body its impossible to break and few scientists are positive he just made up to get a day off of work. In terms of sheer rehearsal time, The Raid 2 can really only be described as Jackie Chan-esque with the martial arts choreography itself taking an estimated 18 months to complete.
What made the choreography so difficult was finding the perfect balance between making it look like the actors were actually hitting each other and stopping them from breaking each others jaws with crushing mouth slaps and dropkicks. Something most of them were fully capable of.
For the most part, if you see someone punch somebody in either The Raid or The Raid 2, there’s about a 90% chances that the hit was real, that it really connected and that both of the people involved were aware of that fact.
The real challenge for everyone involved was hitting each other in such a way that the hit connected, but so hard that it would shatter a rib and puncture the fabric of reality. For both movies this took months of preparation in which all the actors and martial artists involved learned to control their kicks and sick-ass elbow drops in such a way that it looked real, but didn’t feel real.
In regards to the film’s star, Iko Uwais, he actually spent several months training with many of the extras so that they could build a level of mutual trust so that in the very real event one of them accidentally kicked too hard or delivered a slap one second off cue, they wouldn’t get angry with one another and attempt to even the score by hitting back harder in another scene.
The end result of building such a level of trust and understanding between actors was two films involving some of the most visceral hand-to-hand-to-dropkick fight scenes ever seen in cinema history, a handful of awards and of course. This GIF.