Iko Uwais’ film the Raid appears to have wrapped, according to the director’s blog. (more…)
Wow, I really didn’t expect to see this happen. It seems like Sony has swooped in and bought the rights to Iko Uwais’ next film, the Raid. The film is still in production, so it’s a pretty preemptive strike from Sony’s end. (more…)
Iko Uwais hit it big with Merantau, and now the team us getting back together to start working on their next film, The Raid (aka Serbuan Maut). The director, Gareth Evans, has also started a blog to talk about the project. (more…)
Iko Uwais’ debut film, Merantau, is now available in the US on Blu-Ray and DVD. Of course, it’s been a year since it has come out (why does it take so long?) (more…)
Okay, so this trailer has been around for a while, but I just came across it recently. Berandal is Iko Uwais’ next film, although it’s hard to tell what it’s going to be about by just watching the trailer. (more…)
The following review may contain spoilers in order to accurately analyze and rate the film.
Merantau is about a young boy named Yuda. He goes on a spiritual journey, a Merantau, to Jarkarta in order to open a Silat school. After a few depressing discoveries, he witnesses a girl being hit in an alleyway. Being the mandatory hero of the story, Yuda stops the fight and saves Astri, only to be scolded by her. She is now jobless because of him and is completely ungrateful.
Johni, the man who had hired Astri, soon finds himself in a predicament when his foreign dealers demand their “products.” Johni goes back and kidnaps Astri in order to please his bosses. Coincidentally, I guess, Yuda gets involved and uses his Silat skills to save Astri and take on the entire organization and its powerful bosses.
3 ½ fists
Choreography/ Action directing
Merantau is much like any other action movie, all of the focus is on the action. Luckily, it doesn’t disappoint. The fights are fast, fluid, and frequent; the director knew what he was doing. This movie was created to showcase Silat, and that is what it does. Each fight tries to top the one before it, and for the most part, it does. The end sequence is complex and satisfying. Even the stuntmen make sure they get their chance to shine.
The only thing I didn’t like was the wirework that appeared every now and then. I’m not saying wires can’t be used, but if 99% of the movie doesn’t, then why bother?
4 ½ fists
Merantau is going to draw a lot of comparisons to Ong-Bak. It was written by the same guy, it showcases a country’s martial arts style, and it lead even looks like Tony Jaa. The comparison are both good and bad for the film. First, it sets a high bar for the movie. Being compared to a movie that is the same caliber as Ong-Bak is a tough order to fill. This raises the bar for Iko Uwais as well. People are going to have expectations as to what they expect from “another Ong-Bak movie.” I personally think this movie had better sequences at times than Tony’s work.
Second, people may think the plot is going to be paper-thin because of Ong-Bak. Once again, Merantau exceeds expectations set by viewers. The story is not a masterpiece, but a logical plot propels the characters and their actions. It’s not just about a Buddha head. As long as people don’t shy away from it because they are afraid of it being just a movie with only fights, Merantau has a chance of beating Tony Jaa’s debut film.
Finally, and most negatively at all, there will be a sense of Déjà-vu for anyone who has seen Ong-Bak. I knew the characters were different, so was the fighting and the lead actor, but it all felt familiar. I think this may be Merantau’s biggest opponent. It makes me wonder what would have happened if this came out first, but that time has passed.
Either way, Merantau is worth a watch and I’m sure we’ll see Iko Uwais around for a long time. Let’s just hope his path doesn’t follow Tony’s step for step.
This is a trailer for Merantau. It’s an Indonesian film starring Iko Uwais. It looks a lot like Ong-Bak, since it was written by the same person, but uses Silat instead of Muay Thai. (more…)