For genre fans only, this nauseatingly violent and gory organised crime slice/shoot-‘em up delivers what it promises.
Dir. Timo Tjahjanto
2018 | Indonesia | Action/Thriller | 121 mins | Bahasa Indonesia, English & Mandarin
R21 (passed clean) for graphic violence, gore and coarse language
Cast: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Joe Taslim
Plot: Ito, a gangland enforcer, is caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family upon his return home from a stint abroad.
Subject Matter: Mature
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Audience Type: Niche
(Reviewed on Netflix)
The Night Comes for Us is not just one of those movies catered to a very niche audience—in this case, fans of violent and gory organised crime slice/shoot-‘em up-type films—but an indicator of how diverse and bold Netflix’s programming has been recently. If you enjoyed the intense The Raid: Redemption (2011) and its bloated sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal, this will be right up your alley.
In fact, if you noticed, the key art for The Night Comes for Us is almost a like-for-like copy of Berandal’s, obviously targeting the same set of audiences. If you are the curious sort or an adventurous moviegoer, The Night Comes for Us might prove to be a shocker, but unless you have a deep distaste (or perhaps disgust) for films whose main selling point is the prospect of (a fun kind of) extreme violence, you might just take this in gleefully.
Writer-director Timo Tjahjanto, and his cast, headed by The Raid stars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim, however, take their filmmaking seriously. Every stab, slash, slice, and smash elicit shrieks of pain, and in fact, in the film’s most astounding fight sequence towards the end, one that lasts nearly 10 ‘excruciating’ minutes, we get a cacophony of these sounds that are at once horrifying in its brutality, but also calming in its inevitability.
This movie is the first Indonesian film produced by Netflix.
These characters somewhat deserve their eventual fates; after all, they are gangland enforcers who are trained to kill people who might be a threat to the activities of their triad, sometimes even innocent ones. But Taslim’s Ito has a change of heart and turns rogue, though he is no less brutal about making his point to those who are hunting him down.
Themes of brotherhood, loyalty and betrayal are perfunctorily addressed in its plotting, but while plot is unimportant in movies like this, Tjahjnato’s film benefits a bit from the tenuous emotional connection between Ito and a little girl whom he had saved.
There are certainly flaws, the most obvious of which is the film’s almost random-like, sometimes unjustified use of a smattering of languages. While it is primarily a film spoken in Bahasa Indonesia, there are instances where the characters speak English or Mandarin, often unconvincingly and distractingly.
Sunny Pang’s boss character is one of the major culprits; the other is Uwais’ attempt to converse in Mandarin. The film still holds up pretty well though because when it matters, it delivers what it promises, and with bloody good results.