A spoiler free review by Spencer Hackett
Action time, from Indonesia, on Netflix. I didn’t expect to see this turn up on Netflix, although they’re expansion into more and more “proper films” should have given the game away. Also this is the best time for action movies in ages, “Mad Max” gets Oscar nominations, “John Wick” lets me stare at Keanu Reeves, and we get all these badass Indonesian action films. Even so, I had no idea about this until some rave reviews started turning up. This Triad revenge, action, thriller comes to us from Timo Tjahjanto who brought us “Headshot” recently which was pretty good. Similarly to “Headshot” this stars Iko Uwais, who most of you will know as the star of “The Raid”series, but the lead here is Joe Taslim, another Raid cast member, and much of the rest of the cast either turned up in “The Raid” series or “Headshot”. This film is super violent, like really really violent so I’ll just lead with that. There are spoilers ahead, but I can’t really spoil the fight scenes, and that’s what you’ll watch this for.
I do actually like when films open with text that just sets up what happening, gets us over the hump really quickly, especially for an action movie like this.
Well this is a nice relaxing morning on the beach. This director really likes beach based openings. (Kind of the anti -Beat Takeshi – ed)
Thank god it’s subtitled, I can’t take modern films being dubbed. Older, crapper films are great that way, but it just looks cheap now.
That photo is most definitely photo-shopped.
And now the synth kicks in.
That was the calmest fight scene ever, in a really badass way.
Why are we speaking English now…
I think we need a new Mortal Kombat movie, now that we have actual really gory martial arts films. I think if you mixed these action scenes with camp technicolor ninjas it would be even better. Guess Goro is always going to cause issues, can’t really have badass fight with a bloke with extra arms stuck in his waist.
Ah so Iko is the baddy this time, that’s mixed things up.
Give this guy and eye patch and he’d be Majima from Yakuza. Also he just said someone had a familiar mug, and I really doubt that’s what he said in Indonesian. I always wonder how accurate subtitles are, not very probably.
That’s gonna sting.
Death by hoof.
Well I can see why this is an 18 now, this isn’t for the squeamish.
Did I just see an egg cup with boobs on, I think I did, that’s the weirdest bit of set dressing ever.
That was the worst trying to look inconspicuous ever, and I mean that. I’d have done better, and I look like a mug.
This is the point where someone sarcastically tells me this films a bit slow.
I’m sorry but that was appalling aim.
I don’t think anyone in this is just stabbed once, it has to be at least 5 times, and then they’ll still keep going. It’s got that Battle Royale (film not irritating gaming trend) thing that you could have an arm blown off and keep fighting.
You think what used to get banned in this country, and now you can stream this, unbelievable.
You know she’s hard core, she’s got bleached hair. And one of those fancy bendy knife things that always turn up in these films. Isn’t bleached hair a terrible idea for a killer, it’ll just become red. It has. (I believe it comes from blonde/bleached hair being seen as a sign of rebellion amongst Japanese youths – possibly spread across the far east from there – ed)
Oh my god whatever that thing is it’s badass. It’s like a death yo-yo.
The worst wrist injury since Green Room (another film worth a watch, but not if you like Martial arts).
Oh shit I forgot he was fighting as well. This films is literally just fighting at the moment, in a good way.
I’m guessing as we didn’t see him actually die, he isn’t actually dead.
I think you should put your wipers on.
This guy hates light bulbs. Smashing them must brighten up his day. I’m sorry I’ll get my coat.
Why do we keep swapping to English, it’s odd. At least they can speak English, not like in Shin Gojira. (Once again, massively recommended but DO NOT WATCH THE DUB)
We haven’t had a fight for like 5 minutes what’s… never mind. (This wasn’t me being funny, I literally was writing it and one started).
Oh my god it’s the villainess (it isn’t, but she’s dressed like her. That’s a great action film as well, got all the recommendations going today).
She’s got a point.
Oooo swanky transition.
Is it fight time again, I want it to be fight time again. No it’s arts and crafts time.
Now it’s fight time!!!
This isn’t gratuitous at all…
I’m sorry but how did they not see that.
Who knew pool tables were so useful for combat.
Can the death yo-yo be in more films please.
Where did her one sleeve go, that’s an odd fashion choice for combat.
Oh that’s bad ass.
The suit means he’s evil.
This a slug fest and a half.
Sorry for not writing much at the end there, was too busy watch fighting and making lots of ooh and ah sounds. But this is one of the best action films I’ve seen in ages, and that means a lot given what I said at the start. If you’re here for plot you’ll be very disappointed. I had little interest in why people were hitting each other here, and for a while that absolutely fine because it’s stays very simple. But it does wander in to some prolonged back story for about 15 minutes towards the end before the big fight, and personally I’d of just cut that out completely. But if it’s the fights you’re here for settle in for some of the best action has to offer. This is a visceral film and when that’s what it’s doing it’s amazing. The gore and violence is extreme, with a lot of spray, guts and more blood than you can shake a severed limb at. The best way I can describe this is “The Raid” meets “Brain Dead”. I’m hoping in the sequel we get the step up in storytelling we got between “The Raid” and “The Raid 2”. If this had a better story it would be an instant classic, but as it is it’s a fabulous action film with a lot of flair and even more blood. I have very high hopes for the rest of this trilogy and am very impressed that Netflix are backing this sort of thing. Very very impressed over all.