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At first, looking at the way the managed the poster and all..I thought
this would just be another copy-cat movie (well, we had to admit,
neighboring countries cinema are way earlier in successfully creating
such motion pictures)
All the fighting scheme, supporting casts, location, technicalities...this movie is surely one helluva fresh breeze into Indonesian Cinema.
Last night, I was literally stunned and amazed by especially the actions and plot this movie had brought.
The spirit of Nationalism, Humanism and Martial Artistry is carried out at its best!!
Can't believe my own two hands when I clapped them together with the whole theater last night...
Surely, one step toward a better cinema for Indonesia..
Please check out Valen's Shadows review here:
The above review sums it up best. I'm a Martial Arts trainee myself (Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira) and after watching this flick I feel Iko Uwais will add to the world of MA styles and techniques and become a rather recognizable star if only given a chance. A big mistake is to compare Uwais to Jaa which I see many fans of this genre do. Although its true that the films plot was very much like Ong Baks, the fighting however, was way more real than the ones done in Ong Bak. The film did not portray Uwais's role as a 'master' in Silat - it portrayed him as a 'young', 'innocent' newbie exposed to the dangers outside his village, and because he was lightly skilled in the arts of fighting and defending - he managed to stand up against the villains. It was believable in the end. Those that regard this film a lame martial arts film - are not into martial arts at all, and last but not least they don't understand it. In reality, exercising martial arts in a real upfront combat is far from appealing like depicted in any of Van Damme, Jason Statham, Scott Adkins and/or Michael J. Whites movies. This film was so realistic that it's hard for me to believe that they used any special effects or stunt-men at all in any of the fighting scenes.
I give Merentau plot 5/10 - while the fighting scenes and especially the new star an 8/10.
In other words - a great film for martial arts lovers (introduces a new style of fighting to the International audience which always is a thumbs up), while not so good for those into 'storylines' and 'acting' etc.
Watch it by removing any prejudices beforehand, don't compare it to something else, and I will guarantee you that those almost two hours of your time will not be disappointing.
Rejoice action fans over this region! South-east Asia has a new action
hero hailing from Indonesia, and his name is Iko Uwais. We've already
got Tony Jaa showcasing Thailand's Muay Thai, and now we've got Uwais
to introduce a different brand of Silat which we have been exposed to
thus far, thanks to the SEA Games but that's more like a Wushu event,
which is more exhibition. It's still quite amazing to see what is
usually seen on TV as executed in exhibition pace, to take on an
entirely different form when in combat mode. Merantau - and Singapore
has to add a "Warrior" to the title so that we know it's an action
film, duh - is a well executed, entertaining film as far as actioners
Uwais stars as Yuda, a coming of age young adult who has to leave his village and go through a rites of passage in a Merantau, which is something equivalent of an Australian aboriginal walkabout. He sets his sights on Jakarta and has plans to set up a Silat school, only for his contact to go missing with nary a trace. Bumming around while figuring out his next course of action, he chanced upon the siblings of Adit (Yusuf Aulia) and Astri (Sisca Jessica), the latter whom is picked up by gangsters to be part of a sex trafficking ring, and thus begin his discovery of his destiny and calling as the unofficial protector against the meek and weak.
Yes the storyline isn't much to behold naturally, though as far as action films go, this one satisfies its own cursory, flimsy tale to hold all the spectacular action sequences together, giving it some reason to have Uwais go on a rampage, showcasing personal prowess, and to add Silat as a martial arts of choice amongst so many that have its fair share of a cinematic outing, from Ip Man's Wing Chun, to Ong Bak's Muay Thai. It's hard hitting silat harimau here, which has its distinctive low centre of gravity positioning, sweeping leg motions to unbalance the opposition, and very direct and hard hitting palming aimed squarely at the opponent's chest to literally knock the wind out of.
What also worked here is the action cinematography. We all remember how Jaa smashed into the scene with its repetitive action sequences cut from different camera angles, done ad nausem. Here, the filmmakers had good sense in working a very wonderfully designed, and common sensical presentation in not relying on quick edits and jump cuts, allowing the action to flow naturally, and presented in its full glory. I particularly enjoyed moments where a revolving 360 degree view gets employed, especially when Yuda has to tackle opponents all round.
And Yuda is no one man superman too, which worked well for the story, having to see his fair share of failures, as well as shortcomings in his rookie fish-out-of-water situation. While there are moments inserted for dramatic breathing space, the action sequences aren't forgotten and got interspersed adequately within the first few acts, until the last one which became a non-stop, adrenaline pumping finale that was reminiscence of old Hong Kong action flicks, or even Bruce Lee ones, where the protagonist go up against incredible odds, and one on one (or two) situations against Caucasian villains, who are portrayed here in quite over-the-top fashion in need of a good hard kick up the arse.
Granted this is no perfect film with a number of continuity errors spotted, the set action pieces were a sight to behold despite some moments being wire-obvious, mixing things up with components other than Silat all the way, with a few which stood out as campy fun. Keep your eye out for that towel scene, and one of my personal favourites was one that involved a bamboo pole which the trailer included. Uwais also proves that he's quite comfortable with the sickle and metallic staff / batons which got used quite frequently here by hero and villains alike.
Action junkies will do yourselves no favour if you miss Iko Uwais maiden cinematic outing on the big screen. It may not be perfect, but it mattered for what it set out to do establish a new action hero from our region, and to promote the form of martial arts in Silat.
For The Past ten years or so ever since the matrix came out and dazzle
our eyes with fancy moves and dashing kicks, all MA movies tried to
copy it out from small punches to the high kicks but they forgot that
MA is more than CGI ,Flying and impossible jumps. Mernatu came after
25years or so dry spell from Indonesia and you might be thankful for
The movie plot and story simple in alota ways with subplot about life,parenthood,love and the underworld. what makes this movie so good is that the action is action no fakes or flaps, when they slug out they do slug it out, they use every kind of weapon near by, the hero get hit and hit back (that's what seems to allude others as the hero is untouchable even the Chinese and Asian movies falls in this pit recently)
In the end Merantau is A solid film, I enjoy and am sure others will enjoy it MA fan or not. I've never heard of Silat before this film but I can feel it's little more than a form of fighting rather than a way to explore one soul.
As my comment's title says "exceed my expectation", first, here's my
expectation : It's been more than 15 years that no martial arts movie
is made in Indonesia. Especially the one that bring traditional 'pencak
silat' style. So, my expectation in this movie is to see some good
fights along the story plot. Same expectation when I go to watch Tony
Jaa's Ong Bak 1/2 or the Protector.
However, this film deliver more then expected. Iko Uwais is good fighter and really can act. Well-pace (a bit slow at start), solid action, nice camera work, brave-stunts, and the hero is just a human after all.
The director surely know a lot about pencak silat and how to show it's beauty to audience. The 'street fight' style really gives new air to this martial art. Since pencak silat choreography I have ever seen is more like a group dance.
Of course there are some flaws, but I was surprise that it was way less than expected. So, I give it 8/10 for a martial art film. If you want to see a fresh martial arts move with quite decent story and acting, go see this one.
Of course I have to see this movie.
This is the first Indonesia martial arts movie after for years we, Indonesian people, didn't have any like this. And of course, we so tired with all ghosts and unclear sex comedy movies.
Oh my God.
Im just speechless.
This movie is so good, make me sit comfortable in theater, even though the theater have many trouble while playing this movie. But, all forgivable when you see how Good this movie is.
First hour, seems just like action movie fans not interested, because just so many drama. Next, u will blow up, because the action is just so great. And you know what, Iko Uwais is a bad-ass. Really, really bad-ass.
He play better than Tony Jaa. He can fight and amazingly can act. Very well. He make a debut acting with great charisma and camera just loves him so much.
Several actor play quite well. Especially for our mother, Christine Hakim, she is great. She is the mother of act.
The technical side is great. The lighting was good, sound effect and music score was great, editing was quite good. Slow for drama and really fast for fighting scene.
But, i really like the cinematography. It's just, GREAT.
Merantau becoming a different sensation when you see in cinema. I mean, for a while you never got this genre. And second, it's great. And that's making me just like having some multiple orgasm.
And one more thing, I'm officially Iko Uwais fans right now.
See you other time, fellas.
Being an ardent lover of martial art flicks and all its heroes- Jet Li,
Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa, to name my favourite ones- I have
been waiting for a long time to have the hero of my own country,
Indonesia; of our own martial art tradition, Silat.
My long wait is over now. Here comes Iko Uwais in his first movie, Merantau. It's hard not to compare the movie with Ong Bak, and Iko Uwais with Tony Jaa. Not only because the two movies come from the same region and introduce us to the new generation of martial art actors, but also because the vague similarities in their faces. But admitting bias as I am, I would say Merantau is a much better movie than Ong Bak and Iko Uwais is a much better actor than Tony Jaa.
Merantau story is quite simple and almost cliché. About this guy named Yuda, played by Iko Uwais, in his journey of Merantau, a tradition still very much in practice by the young males of Minang tribe in West Sumatera, in which they have to prove themselves worthy to be called a real man by migrating to other place and surviving against all odds in the new place, gaining new experience, new skills that will benefit their hometown or their village. Before going on Merantau, they usually prepare themselves with certain skill that would support their survival in the new place. Yuda's skill is Indonesian traditional martial art called Silat, or Silek in Minang language, of the Sumateran Tiger (Harimau) style. He wishes to establish a Silat school in Jakarta.
But in Jakarta, fate brings Yuda's journey to the life troubles of a stripper, Astri and her pickpocket brother, Adit. His goody country boy nature made Yuda can't let injustice happens to those siblings, although he has his own problem to be solved. Can Yuda help them? Will he survive in his new place and prove to people back home that he is a real man? You have to watch the movie by yourself and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Merantau gives a balanced combination of drama and action. Instead of watching a purely action movie, I feel like watching a drama whose main protagonist happens to be a really good martial artist. Supported by excellent casts, combining first time actors and the more experienced ones, the acting look natural. I can feel the anxiety, loneliness and despair of Adit when he was forced to hide when his sister was chased by the thugs. I can feel the rage and determination of Yuda when he broke into the strip club to safe Astri, and I become misty-eyed when Yuda's mother waves goodbye to Adit.
Iko Uwais proves himself to be a capable actor, despite the fact this is his first acting experience ever and he has to play the role of a guy from different ethnic group, with different accent and language and different Silat style. For those uninformed, during the first part of the movie some of the language used is Minang language, that I, an Indonesian of Betawian descent (just like Iko), has to read the subtitle to understand what it means. Iko is blessed with great camera presence and natural facial expression. He is able to give a sweet smile (he has wonderful smile indeed) and brutal angry face with enough convincing acting. A very good start for a new movie star whose last occupation was a truck driver for a telecom company.
However, what sell most from Iko's skills in the film is his fighting skills. The choreography team, led by Silat Harimau master, Edwel Datuk Rajo Gampo Alam (acts as Yuda's silat master in the movie) is smart enough to put Iko's skills in the combination style of Tony Jaa's brutality, Jet Li's fluidity and Jackie Chen's environmentally-inspired acrobat. Without using much tricks and less wire-fest than most current martial art movies, the films is able to show great fight scenes, that left me "Ouch, that must hurt so bad" uncountable times during the film. Numerous times the audience give big applause after the glorious fight scenes. Some of the scenes should also go into the "martial art cinematography history" as creative and mind-blowing. The laundry pole scene left many jaws dropped, while 'don't take my towel' scene led the audience into hilarious laughter (the small kid few rows in front of me couldn't stop laughing for quite a long time).
In short, Merantau is a movie you should not be missed if you're an action junkie. If you're a drama type junkie, Merantau offers enough drama with strong characters and profound meaning of what it means to be doing your best for your survival and for your society. Gareth Evans is not Zhang Yi-Mou nor Ang Lee with their colossal wire fest kungfu fantasy, but he has proved that even modern realistic martial art cinematography can look this good and mean this deep.
4 out of 5 stars.
Action for the guys and drama for the girls, what more can you ask from
a movie? I just cannot say enough good things about this movie and I
really could not fathom how it could garner a negative review at all. I
watched Merantau some months ago and I just finished watching it a
second time. I had forgotten it a bit, but as soon as it started I
remembered everything and how amazingly good it is. I was noticing that
part of it at the end reminded me a little of Tony Jaa at the end of
Protector, but I do not think it was a copy of it at all. Another thing
is that even though the Indonesians are right to praise this new movie
of theirs, and Iko Uwais did show us some really great acting and
martial arts skills, I still would not go as far as to say that Iko is
better at either one than Tony, especially since the latter has more
films under his belt (more experience, hello?). Tony Jaa has joined the
ranks of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li as
the greatest martial arts movie heroes. If you are a martial arts movie
fanatic as I am and you analyze Ong Bak 2 then you cannot argue with
this statement. Iko Uwais is also really awesome and I see good things
happening for him. He might join those ranks one day, we'll wait
eagerly to see what he does next.
The fighting choreography I thought was really fantastic. I really thought Iko added a lot of feeling into his actions and I liked how it made me feel that it was realistic in the way that people who get punched and kicked a lot start to stagger a bit even when they're fighting for their lives. The actress who played the mother character was also really great even though her role wasn't too long. I was preparing to steel myself to the agony of watching the two Americans doing their super cliché way that they are always portrayed in any Asian film, but I was pleasantly surprised in their commitment to character and they made convincing bad guys. Lots of good acting and directing all around. The camera, sound, lighting, and editing were all very fine. The music was especially good in places. The script is so good that this time I shed some tears. I almost never cry, especially during my action movies, but this one is so good. Great plot! The entire story ties itself together really well from beginning to end and is told in the traditional way of the ancient storytellers. What transpires between the hero and the bad guys' main bounty hunter is truly one of the best parts of the movie. There are other places where philosophy and political statements are blatantly obvious, but it really shines between these two warriors on opposite sides of the battlefield. I really think many young people, the ones who have to struggle through this often harsh world and suffer terribly when there is no one to help them, would really sympathize and feel a connection for the story and the main character who looks quite young himself. It irritates me very much that millions of action fans in my home country in the United States have never seen or heard of this movie. Needless to say I am also extremely upset about many really great foreign films not seeing the light of day here especially when many of them outshine the awful vomit Hollywood spews in my face on a constant basis.
i can divide this movie into two parts first 15 minutes, the drama
part, here we see the background story of the movie. we'll be introduce
to the main character, too bad i can understand "bahasa Padang" but
there is an English subtitle ( which sometime is not accurate)
second part the FIGHT part this what i like..... fight, fight, and more fight the martial art choreography is pretty much similar to tony jaa but....i don't care, this Iko can really kick ass
though this movie is not perfect, but i recommend this movie to all of action martial art movie mania
The main actor is legit. Which in the martial arts cinema is rarity. I
actually saw his movie the Raid 1&2, which I liked so much because the
whole movie is just so good from the fight scenes to the action
choreography, its just insane. Some credit goes out tot he director
too. Now this movie, seems like it has a lower budget as you can tell
when watching, but the fight screens and camera work are there. The
story needed to be a bit more developed but the fight screen between
the silat friend in the elevator was pretty intense. I wished it was a
bit longer but what he did at the end will have you rooting for him.
As for the 2 white bad guys at the end. Their style of fighting was kind of non believing. They could of done better. IDK, seems like something was very lacking.
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