HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
Pyewacket
Disaster Artist, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Flodder - Brood
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  Merantau Beaten But UnbowedBuy this film here.
Year: 2009
Director: Gareth Evans
Stars: Iko Uwais, Sisca Jessica, Christine Hakim, Mads Koudal, Yusuf Aulia, Alex Abbad, Yayan Ruhian, Laurent Buson, Doni Alamsyah, Ratna Galih
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Martial Arts
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Yuda (Iko Uwais) is about to embark in his rite of passage, or Merentau, which means leaving his doting mother (Christine Hakim) behind at home and venturing out into the big, wide world. He is planning on heading for Jakarta because he believes he can get somewhere to live there - this has been arranged, or so he thinks - and set up as a tutor of the Indonesian martial art Silat to earn a crust. Before he goes he has a heart to heart with his mother about this new journey, and she tells him that he must do right by his family, but just how he does so nobody could have guessed.

Apparently patterned after those Tony Jaa worldwide fighting hits (the DVD cover in the West called it Merantau Warrior, adding the second word to appeal to that same market), this was a showcase for director Gareth Evans' new discovery Iko Uwais which would prove solid grounding for them to progress to the more acclaimed The Raid: Redemption a couple of years later. Not that their efforts here were negligable in comparison, which was mainly down to the genuinely impressive skills of the star who followed in Jaa's footsteps by bringing a not too well known martial art to the world stage.

Truth be told there were plot problems here, but crucially none of them got in the way of the action, which once the lengthy preamble was dispensed with was plentiful. When our hero gets to Jakarta he finds things not playing out as he would have expected, or wanted for that matter, as the house he was supposed to live in hadn't been built yet, and nobody is in the market for a Silat tutor as most of the established ones do so in their spare time. Based in their home. Which Yuda doesn't currently have. So you can see why, when he is relegated to sleeping in a pile of large pipes on a building site, that he probably needs to rethink his priorities, although returning to his mother is not an option just yet.

Not much of a basis for a martial arts flick, which is why a chance meeting with a nightclub dancer called Astri (Sisca Jessica) spirals Yuda's life off into another direction. He meets her when chasing her young brother Adit (Yusuf Aulia) who happens to have stolen his wallet, and though he gets that back he doesn't receive his reward for chivalry when he saves Astri from her abusive boss (Alex Abbad), actually a pimp with evil plans for her. She is put out at losing her job, and tells Yuda where to go, but fate brings them back together when the pimp's even more deplorable boss, Ratger (Mads Koudal), orders him to find some women for human trafficking purposes.

And Astri fits the bill, so there was a social conscience sneaked into the more run of the mill narrative, but this also had the not so likeable result of having Ratger rape the young woman (offscreen) when Yuda was trying to track her down and save her, which was a major downer for the audience. This might have been included to show to victims of such crimes they are not worthless, for the hero simply doubles his efforts to save her, but even so there was an even bigger downer on the cards for the grand finale. These curious developments could not all be laid at the door of cultural differences, as the director who penned the script was Welsh, but you could argue it offered the proceedings their own particular flavour even if you didn't like them much. Truth was, there was a formula to these things and while they got the combat just right, with Uwais showing incredible mastery of his abilities, everywhere else this was rather awkwardly effective.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1005 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: