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The principal actor, IKO UWAISs, was born in Jakarta on February 12th, 1983. Iko was introduced to pencak silat through his uncle, who was the master of Tiga Berantai Silat School in Jakarta. Uwais took an immediate interest and started pencak silat at the age of five. He continued training until he went professional. In 2003 he came third in a competition among pencak silat schools in Jakarta. In 2005 he won the Best Single performer at the Pencak Silat Festival. He travelled to the UK, Russia and Azerbaijan as a member of the Indonesian silat team to introduce the martial art to other cultures. He followed that in 2007 and 2008 by traveling to Cambodia and France.

In 2007 Uwais met Gareth Evans through a documentary that Evans and Rangga Maya Barack-Evans were working on at the time. Uwais was a student at one of the silat schools where Evans was filming. After getting to know Uwais better, they met up again in 2008 to discuss about Uwais starring in Evans' first feature debut MERANTAU - a drama/action movie featuring West Sumatra's distinct pencak silat style "silat harimau" (Tiger style silat). This was Uwais's debut in a feature length movie, not only as an actor but also as a member of the choreography team. After the movie's successful local theatrical release in 2009, Uwais became Merantau Films' in-house choreographer. He continued to develop the company's productions, including THE RAID 2.


Continuing the story where it left off in THE RAID, Iko plays the part of Rama. After reaching out to a policeman called Bunawar (as suggested by his brother Andi), Rama is recruited to join Bunawar's undercover team. In THE RAID 2, Rama is now not only a husband with a wife to look after, but also the father of a young child, Angga. Accepting the responsibility and consequences as an undercover agent is a challenge and pressure to Rama. The toll, both mental and physical, is enhanced by his orders to follow and befriend Uco, the son of mafia don Bangun. When Rama goes undercover, he assumes the identity of Yuda, a character whose personality lies in diametric opposition to that of Rama. Rama must act as one of Uco's men and thus is no longer afforded the luxury of morality. This transition creates in Rama a struggle to maintain his true self and sense of identity.

The roles that Uwais played in Evans's previous films, Yuda (MERANTAU) and Rama (THE RAID: REDEMPTION) are both classic heroes. They fight for justice and defend the weak. However, in this film, Evans asked Uwais to portray Rama as a man struggling to maintain his morality. When Rama is forced to enter the underworld, his conscience undergoes a continuous struggle. He loses himself, and with it his ideals. This gives Uwais a new challenge and presents an interesting evolution of the role.

The acting challenge for me this time was the switch between playing ideal Rama vs evil Yuda. I found the scene where Yuda is brought to the luxurious apartment by Eka and makes a phone call to Bunawar particularly difficult. Not only do I have to start the scene as Yuda, but then talk on the phone to Bunawar as Rama, who is angry at Bunawar, then switch to calling Isa, Rama's wife. This scene was shot all in one take so the difference of voice tone and expression had to be drastically different. (Uwais)

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