'Star Wars' sequel may get 'silat' touch

Three Indonesian actors from Hollywood director Gareth Evans' locally shot action franchise The Raid will appear in the next Star Wars movie, a reliable cult film website is reporting.

TwitchFilm said on Monday that the stars of The Raid 2: Berandal, Iko Uwais (Rama), Yayan Ruhian (Prakoso) and Cecep Arif Rahman ("The Assassin"), would appear in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, slated for release in December.

Decrying the "CGI trickery" of other Star Wars films, Twitch editor Todd Brown wrote that Episode VII director JJ Abrams has "cast a trio of highly skilled martial artists who have already demonstrated their skills with blades, batons, etc in a world where super powered warriors fight with blades, batons, etc."

However, none of the actors would confirm their bow in the most eagerly awaited film of 2015.

"No comment from me, it's not within my ability to announce it," Iko said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.

His manager, Evie Aquanthie, also declined to comment, saying that Iko would soon resume work on another Hollywood movie, Beyond Skyline, in Batam and Yogyakarta. "He's now on a break, but he will soon resume filming Beyond Skyline," Evie told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Yayan, who is also acting and arranging stunts in Beyond Skyline, did not immediately answer phone calls from the Post.

If the Twitch report is true, the Star Wars films will join a long line of Hollywood projects drawing on action techniques developed by non-American filmmakers.

For example, the "gun-fu" sequences in Hong Kong director John Woo's Hard Boiled (1992) and The Killers (1989)-inspired Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez; while the parkour urban acrobatics introduced by French action film District 13 spawned the opening chase in the 2006 James Bond reboot Casino Royale.

Citra-nominated film critic Ekky Imanjaya - an expert on Indonesian action cinema - said that silat's road to Star Wars was paved by local directors such as Joko Anwar and the Mo Brothers, whose works were popular at international genre festivals.

Evans' Raid films, which he said received a "phenomenal" reception in the West, had a relatively wide commercial release and garnered a global following - something which might have prompted Abrams to plan a silat-inspired showdown for Episode VII.

Local film critic Makbul Mubarak echoed Ekky. The co-founder of Cinema Poetica noted that Star Wars franchise creator George Lucas said he was influenced by Akira Kurosawa's samurai action movies.

The Jedi Knights even took their name from jidaigeki, or period drama, the Japanese name for the genre.

"Star Wars was inspired by the samurai style of martial arts from Kurosawa," said local film critic Makbul Mubarak, co-founder of the Cinema Poetica website.

"Why don't they try silat now?"

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