If you have not watched the trailer for The Raid: Redemption, you need to do that right now (watch the trailer here). This upcoming martial arts action flick by writer/director Gareth Evans has been building serious buzz around the festival circuit, with the words “Best action movie [insert time span],” being used more and more as The Raid: Redemption nears its U.S. theatrical debut. We’ve even heard the high praise echoed around our own Screen Rant bullpen (check back next week for our official review).

Should The Raid live up to even a fraction of its big hype (and we bet it will), a few weeks from now (at the time of writing this) the fact that a sequel film (titled Berandal) is in the works will likely be welcome news to many an action movie fan. Read on for a SPOILER-FREE report on where The Raid sequel currently is in development.

The premise of The Raid: Redemption is pretty straightforward: A squad of elite Indonesian cops arrives at an apartment complex to arrest a gang lord. The problem? The worst killers, maniacs, dealers and addicts in the city are all living under the gang lord’s roof, standing between the cops and their target. What ensues is a war between cops and crooks for one floor of the building at a time; however, not all is as it seems, and the cops may be in too deep to make it out alive.

Beyond that melee setup, The Raid actually does have a deeper story that surrounds rookie squad member Rama (martial arts star Iko Uwais), and – without spoiling anything – there is a door left wide open for an interesting and exciting sequel film.

With The Raid being screened at the SXSW festival, Gareth Evans was out and about discussing the sequel film, Berendal, which is already in pre-production. Sony has already secured the U.S. distribution rights for the sequel, which will have a bigger budget than its predecessor and will shoot for about 100 days of principal photography. Evans had the following update for Heat Vision, in regards to status of the Berandal script:

Gareth Evans: I’m right in the last five percent of the script now — I’m almost done now. I should have been done a long time ago, but I just haven’t had the chance to sort of sit down and do proper writing for a long time. So I’m kind of looking forward to kind of having a little moment of rest where I can sit down and reread the whole script and then I can see how close we are to being finished with it.

On the subject of when he came up with the idea for the Berandal:

Truthfully, the sequel idea came up while I was still writing ‘The Raid’, the first one. What happened is we tried to get the budget in place for a film called ‘Berandal’ first, and we spent a year and a half doing that. And in the process of trying to get the money for that film, we’d already designed the choreography, we’d already written the script, and we were already to go and we just needed the money in order to pull the trigger on it. And that’s a year and a half of not getting any closer to getting the money. We were in a position where we just decided, you know what, **** it, we’re not going to get it, we have to do something else with a lower budget.

So The Raid became that plan B project, and over the course of setting up ‘The Raid’ we designed all of this choreography previously and we couldn’t use it on it, because we wanted to keep it for ‘Berandal‘. And in the course of making up choreography for ‘Berandal‘ we discovered this new approach of how we wanted to use silak [Indonesian martial arts] in the film. And so that kind of informed how we were going to use silak in ‘The Raid’ also…Luckily the response has been such now that we’re in a position where we can fund that film now and it will exist as a franchise.

Finally, Evans said a bit about how The Raid  has now evolved into a trilogy:

Then, the idea for doing it as a trilogy came a little later on, because that was when we were in post-production on ‘The Raid.’ I started to think “okay, well maybe I can kind of expand the story even further.” And I don’t have a full story line for part three yet, I just have it as a concept, that’s it. So I’m still working on part three, I don’t really know what’s going to happen in part three yet. But part two is locked almost.

Evans talks more about how Berandal will connect to The Raid – but as that talk is SPOILERISH in regards to the ending of The Raid, you’ll have to jump over to Heat Vision to read it.

There are already some whispers that these film could soon get an American remake (The Raid is a product of the Indonesian film industry) but do not wait for that. We rarely try to influence our readers, but if you’re an action fan, trust us, you want to see this movie. And, by the time it’s done, you too will likely want to see the sequel, from the original director, using the actual Indonesian actors and stuntmen.

BONUS: Just go ahead and check out the trailer for The Raid: Redemption if you haven’t already:

The Raid: Redemption will be in (U.S.) theaters on March 23, 2012. We’ll keep you updated on the status of Berandal.

Source: Heat Vision (Link 1) (Link 2)