In the Jakarta slums, a derelict apartment building has become a no-go area – even the police are unwilling to enter. It has become a safe-house for the most dangerous killers and gangsters. A SWAT team infiltrate the building, under the cover of darkness, to remove its owner – a notorious drug lord named Tama.
I went into this film totally blind and happy for it as I came in with no pre-conceived notions which made the film more enjoyable. It is rare for me as I try to stay informed on all the latest releases but I haven’t had this much fun with a film I knew nothing about since REC.
This film has an almost video game like atmosphere where the player has to go from level to level fighting and defeating henchmen and challenges as well as bosses to get to the top and fight the overlord. Might even have to go to a lower level to power-up or get weapons to help to keep it going.
The action is infectous and despite all the violence and fighting. There is a emotional core to what is going on. That brings you front and center into the action like you are a witness in the room.
Though some of the violence is excessive it is pulse pounding emphasis on the pounding with martial arts scenes that are both brutal and acrobatic. Violence happens but it doesn’t linger on the aftermath or show at times just the thought of what is happening is more brutal then the actual violence it shows. The film moves fast and it rarely slows down. The film keeps you intense so that it is fun and never feels repetitive. There is some gun play but more hand to hand combat. Which most of the players in the film use and know.
One of the shocks is that the director Gareth Evans is actually welsh who isn’t a fight choreographer nor does he practice matial arts. He is a transport to Indonesia and became enamored by the culture. It is his new adopted homeland and made him want to make this film. He makes a excellent debut as a filmmaker who is inventive and who can’t wait to see more from.
The film has the kinetic energy of Evil dead 1 and/or 2. Just in a different genre. I haveto say I was constantly shocked.
It is getting an American remake.That he is not directing. Trust me see this before they screw it up with the remake. Through all the action the film manages to surprise with all the twists and turns.
Some of the most impressive scenes involve the boss’s henchmen who doesn’t like to use weapons and prepares to fight and kill with his bare hands for the rush. Also just as the hero faces many enemies on his own the henchmen’s scene where he fights 2 guys almost as good as him at the same time in close quarters. Think the light saber fight in THE PHNTOM MENACE only more awesome and violent with no weapons.
I will admit i am not the biggest fan of action films. When the film is done right and so is the action it’s a thingof beauty that makes the heart race and fills you with adreneline. So many films try these days some almost get there. Other fails miserably they have the look and style but lack the thrills and the heart. This film everything comes together in a perfect package. Like Vintage John Woo. The choregraphy, the visuas the memorable characters.