Blue Beetle Movie Used Injustice 2 as Reference for Fights

'Blue Beetle' features fight scenes inspired by 'The Raid' and 'Gangs of London,' and moves and constructs drawn from 'Injustice 2' and 'The Fifth Element.'

Angel Manuel Soto, the director of the upcoming Blue Beetle movie, said that the superhero film's fight scenes were inspired by movies like The Raid and video games like Injustice 2. The movie, out Friday, centers on Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), who gets saddled with the "superhero" job after getting power from an alien artifact that looks like a blue beetle. One of the things Soto really wanted to do, was to make sure the fight scenes felt grounded and visceral, drawing influence from fighting games and action movies and creating a look that's unique among the current crop of superhero movies.

He also cited movies like The Fifth Element and (most obviously) video games like Final Fantasy VII as inspirations for some of the weapons that Jaime created in his Green Lantern-like hard-light constructs.

"I wanted the action and violence to be a little more visceral," Soto told Discussing Film. "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. 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!"

"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," Soto added. "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!"

From Warner Bros. Pictures comes Blue Beetle, which arrives in theaters on August 18th, marking the DC superhero's first time on the big screen. The film, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, stars Xolo Maridueña in the title role as well as his alter ego, Jaime Reyes. Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero BLUE BEETLE.

Starring alongside Maridueña are Adriana Barraza, Damían Alcázar, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Max Trujillo, with Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, and George Lopez (the "Rio and "Smurf" franchises). The film also stars Belissa Escobedo and Harvey Guillén. Soto directs from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, based on characters from DC. John Rickard and Zev Foreman are producing, with Walter Hamada, Galen Vaisman and Garrett Grant serving as executive producers.