- Director Ángel Manuel Soto turned to the action thriller The Raid for inspiration on how to depict visceral and intense fight sequences in Blue Beetle.
- Soto also drew inspiration from video games and anime to visualize the powerset of the DC superhero.
- By incorporating nods to popular media, Soto aimed to create a sense of nostalgia and fun, allowing him to play with different references and bring his own gaming interests into the film.
The director behind Blue Beetle, Ángel Manuel Soto, reveals that he turned to one of modern cinema’s greatest action outings for inspiration for the fight sequences: the 2011 action thriller The Raid. Speaking recently with DiscussingFilm, the filmmaker explained that he wanted the fighting in the DC movie to be “visceral,” and thus looked to director Gareth Evans and star Iko Uwais’ 2011 action masterclass for how to depict the superhero punches.
“I wanted the action and violence to be a little more visceral. Although I do love the fantastic and magical side of things, this is the beginning of Jaime Reye’s heroic journey and he doesn’t know everything he can do yet. So, one of the things we wanted was for this movie to feature a little bit more hand-to-hand combat.”
Released back in 2011, the Indonesian action thriller The Raid tells the simple story of an elite squad tasked with infiltrating a high-rise building run by a ruthless drug lord. Featuring all manner of gritty, dusty, brutal hand-to-hand fight scenes, Soto surely could not have chosen a better muse for Blue Beetle.
“We used a lot of references like The Raid movies and Gangs of London for the hand-to-hand combat, which Jon Valera, our stunt coordinator, drives very well. We managed to make something that represented that kind of flesh-to-flesh intimacy that can exist in violence. But, at the same time, we play with different alternatives that are fantastic and the wish-fulfillment of a young man. For example, a lot of the combos in Injustice 2, we used them as a reference during fights and with the manifestations of the weapons. Blue Beetle’s blaster was even inspired by Mega Man!”
Blue Beetle Features Plenty of References to Anime & Video Games
Not only did Soto turn to the likes of The Raid when crafting Blue Beetle, he also looked to video games, anime, and more when visualizing the DC superhero’s powerset.
“There’s a scene where Jaime says, “Khaji, show me something”, and he pulls out a gun that we chose to look like the ZF-1 gun from The Fifth Element. And he’s like, “No Kahji, no killing!” Then we play with that again towards the end when Jaime goes “Anything I want? Okay!” and he busts out Cloud’s sword [from Final Fantasy VII] Why? Because we’re gamers! We were asking ourselves, “Wow, what would I want to create?” I always wanted to have a buster sword like they do in Final Fantasy. To be able to play with those nods, including some from Dragon Ball Z. Play with a lot of other references that I’m not going to spoil – it was super good fun. I felt like I was twelve again!”
Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto, written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, and starring Xolo Maridueña, Adriana Barraza, Damián Alcázar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, and George Lopez, Blue Beetle introduces Jaime Reyes, who suddenly finds himself bestowed with an incredible suit of armor after being chosen as a host by an ancient relic of alien biotechnology called the Scarab.
Blue Beetle is scheduled to be released in the United States on August 18, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures.