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    Raiding the New Year Goodies

Director Jingle Ma and Richie Ren.

The last Raiders film, Tokyo Raiders collected 1.7 million dollars in Singapore alone. With that kind of success, it would be hard to understand why director Jingle Ma was so reluctant to make another sequel to Tokyo Raiders.

On 3rd Feb 2005, Director Jingle Ma and his Seoul Raider star, Richie Ren came to Singapore’s Conrad Hotel to give some insight why the sequel to Tokyo Raiders took so long to finalize and gave the reason to why Seoul city was chosen as the next installment.

One of the reasons why Jingle Ma didn’t want to do a sequel in the first place was the inevitable comparison between the original and the sequel. There will be enormous pressure on him to create another successful Raiders film. Especially on the first few days of the film screening, he will be busy checking on reports from different cinema vendors instead of enjoying the holidays.

Another reason he gave was that he was afraid of letting the film’s sponsors down, as Raiders’ type of film required a huge amount of capital. But lucky, Seoul Raiders’ sponsors thought otherwise and convinced him to give it another try.

After all the best locations in Tokyo were used in the first Raiders film, the production team decided to use another city for the sequel. Europe, Beijing and Singapore were all once consider as a potential candidate. However Korea’s Seoul city stood out as the best choice, since the Korea media are currently the hottest trend that is sweeping the Asia region.

Another benefit was that Seoul city went all the way in supporting this film production. When the film crew needed to film in the Seoul’s city subway or one of Seoul city’s main streets that is normally as busy as Singapore’s Orchard road, the authorities were willing to close down both location during it’s off peak periods to facilitate the filming. Permission was also granted to shut down the subway safety program for a dangerous action sequence in the subway. That sequence was so dangerous that director Jingle Ma was very worried about Richie Ren’s safety, as any wrong moves or timing could prove fatal for the actor.

But sometime being concern for actors could have adverse results instead. Jingle Ma recounts during the fight scenes at the hot spring bath, he was worried that the actors would be suffering from the cold weather as it was below 2 degree Celsius. He sets the water temperature higher to keep the actors warm and it turn out to be too hot for both Tony Leung and Richie Ren. Mere moments after they entered the water, they were scalded red underneath their clothes.

The dangerous sequences and freezing cold weather were not all the difficulties faced by the actors. Richie Ren told the press that although he had some training in martial arts fighting, he had to learn all over again from his Korean counterparts as they used Tae Kwon Do style of fighting which have faster moves and more deadly accuracy in their strikes.

He hopes that he would be able to shred off some of the goody boy image that he had been carrying for a while. This time round, he got to play an arrogant guy who out to make things difficult for Tony Leung.

With more than 200 thousands dollars spend on Seoul Raiders advertisements in Singapore, trio of well known actors starring in it and following a formula set by the successful predecessor film, Seoul Raiders are poised to reign as this Chinese New Year box office champion.

If Seoul Raiders do well in the Box Office and since the producer are thinking of turning the Raiders movie into a franchise, a third sequel might be highly possible. And maybe when that time arrived, hopefully Singapore might be chosen as the next venue!

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Story: Richard Lim Jr | Photos: Lokman B.S. | Layout: Lokman B.S. 

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