director Gareth Huw Evans
An Indonesian action film par violence.
An undercover raid of a Jakarta tenement which houses the city’s most brutal criminal goes insanely awry, leaving a squad of SWAT police in the lurch, while they are annihilated by the bullets and machetes of an endless array of bad guys. Iko Uwais stars and assisted in choreographing the fervent, blinding action, combining gun play and martial arts in copious quantities and with visceral brutality.
It’s all about the action and the fighting here, which is well-shot and well-choreographed, and like I said, fast and furious. Strip back to the storyline, the logic and cohesiveness quickly disappear, but as is true in many action films, only needs to hold the thing together for the otherwise non-stop fists, kicks, bullets, and blood. The action makes great use of the limited space of the interior of the rotting building, from flinging bodies down stairwells, bashing faces into doorjambs, hiding in paper-thin hidden rooms.
Beyond that, Ray Sahetapy who plays the merciless top gangster and Yayan Ruhian who plays his top fighter and enforcer,”Mad Dog”, are very good. It’s always important to have good villains.
The film has been a huge hit and is being re-made for Hollywood, while Gareth Huw Evans and Uwais are planning to shoot more, perhaps into a trilogy, meaning that this film will have legs and perhaps influence beyond itself. When it comes down to it, it’s the action, the fighting, the cinematography and choreography. That’s what this film is all about. It’s pretty breath-taking at its best.