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Some interesting idea hinted on some scene in the movie didn't fully developed well. But we saw martial artist kick alien ass!
31 October 2017
Since HG Wells era, alien genre had shown human beings being exploited by technologically more advanced alien. It is not rare, the film of the genre use horror approach. For about a half an hour of this movie, the audience have to enjoy how the alien tear human brain apart from the host. We would see several corpse of pregnant women with open abdomen from where their baby were forcefully taken. Personally, I hate horror movies so I have to close my ear for half an hour.

Fortunately for me, the horror approach dissipated once the protagonist understand the situation and with unexpected ally, he successfully brought the alien ship down to a South-East Asian country. In the end, the protagonist join force with local forces to resist the rest of the alien.

Following the social-critic of HG Wells' War of The World, Liam O' Donnel the script writer also the director, deliberately put the central of the struggle to the third-world country as an antithesis of common Hollywood movie which usually put America as the hero. He chose South-East Asian because some countries in the region was politically intervened by US. The SE Asian countries also have history of civil war and rebellion to the dictatorial regime. Yet Liam also admit that he married a Laos girl and inspired from her country.

Unfortunately, some interesting idea hinted on some scene in the movie didn't fully developed well. In the end, all those background story became trivial and unmemorable.

However, we should admit that we watched Beyond Skyline not for a complex story. We watched Beyond Skyline because we wanted to see martial artists kick alien butts! In this aspect, Liam and crew had delivered the promise.
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The Raid 2 (2014)
Finally, an Indonesian drama of Indonesia Mafia family. This is a story of a spoiled brat who 'can't wait to be king', disturbing Jakarta Underworld.
25 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"How could you apologize to them, using their language, in our land" -- Ucok

Ucok (Arifin Putra), was the prince of Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo) family. He thought he would have his own charisma as how his father was. He was wrong. He got into a fight with another spoiled brat and was taken into prison. In the prison, he knew better, he should use his father name to scare people instead of relying on his own. He gathered a group of muscle man to protect him, lead by Beni.

Those run well at the beginning. The prison guards let him walked with his gang, even let him brought knife everywhere inside the prison. Until a new guy came into prison and put on a show. Several person was beaten by the new guy alone in the toilet stall and this guy refused Ucok's offer to be part of his men.

The new guy was Yudha (Iko Uwais), a man from nowhere, not affiliated to any group. Eka (Oka Antara), Bangun's caretaker, had run a background checking and confirmed to Ucok, Yudha did not came from any rival groups. Ucok took interest on him. But not until the incident of the prison riot, he could gain friendship from Yudha. In the riot itself, Ucok learned that he couldn't trust anyone, not even his own men.

Two years later, when Yudha had been released from prison, Ucok personally picked him and drove him to his father. Ucok wanted Yudha to be part of his family. His father approved and put Yudha to be Ucok bodyguard. Yudha himself had successfully proved to be a great killing machine in his first task.

Somehow, being a bodyguard, didn't mean Yudha would follow whatever Ucok wanted. The Karaoke incident told Ucok that Yudha had his own thought. While Yudha might be a killing machine, it seemed he could not enjoy the nightlife as other thugs. Worse, it seemed Yudha had his own moral code.

Meanwhile, the Karaoke incident made Ucok learned that while his father was in power, it didn't make all people respect him. Yes, some people may aware of his father existence and afraid to insult him yet it didn't stop the other people to disobey Ucok. It didn't make Yudha, his own bodyguard, obey him either.

And then, a mysterious call came. It offered Ucok to fulfill his ambition, to raise him into a new respected guy in a higher position than he was. The call came from Bejo and he invited Ucok to his restaurant.

"even by being a simple garbage man, I would have been considered as more successful man than my father ever was" -- Bejo

Bejo (Alex Abbad) came from a low class. He kept reminding himself how he came from a low class and he did not shy to tell that to other people, including his enemies. He was a social climber, a calculated one. He knew who should be ridden and who should be taken as company.

His action, no matter how aggressive it was, was still considered as a small thing. Even though some Yakuza had suspect his move, they could lay hand of him since the scope of his action was small enough. The best they could do was report him to Bangun.

However, Bejo was now ready to take a giant leap. He invited Ucok to his restaurant and offer him to build his own legend, to create his own charisma. In a humble proposal, he told Ucok that he only wanted a small land with no liability of protection money.

Bejo told Ucok that to create a legend, they need a war. They had to unbalanced the structure so they could rebuild a new empire. Ucok had to sacrifice his own palace to raise the battle cry.

And then start the battle scene which being praised by the audience in Sundance and SXSW Festival 2014.

Arifin Putra, I've seen him in previous Indonesia film, Badai di Ujung Negeri and I was surprised he could actually act. The most amazing scene of him and also the scariest one was the Karaoke. That was so real and Yudha, the good guy, couldn't do anything on that scene. The karaoke girl could be slashed to death and there was nothing the protagonist could do.

Alex Abbad, I loved when he played in Merantau. I knew I would be in treat when I heard he would be Bejo in this movie. And he didn't disappoint.

Oka Antara. I have seen his movie a lot. Most of them were about being a kind and full of smile guy. I knew he tried to be different character. One of his movie where he tried to be 'bad guy' was Killers directed by Mo Brothers, yet I still saw him as a nice and kind guy. In The Raid 2, he was different. He became a serious guy on his job and there was no good guy anymore.

Tio Pakusadewo. Uncle Tio is a senior actor, just like uncle Ray Sahetapy who played as Tama in the first movie. Here, he played Bangun, an old father who wished his son could learn patience.

Yayan Ruhiyan. The Mad Dog of The Raid Redemption, returned as a totally different character. He played as an assassin and also an old servant of Bangun family. In return, Bangun family considered him as a close member of the family. When Ucok needs someone to express his anger, he would call Prakoso, the servant.
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It is a half-baked movie. Lousy and disjointed music, rough and disjointed cut, bad CGI, bad image composition which make a real stunt looks like a fake stunt.
21 November 2013
Disappointed by Tom Yum Goong 2 (The Protector 2).

It is a half-baked movie. The problem I found with this second installment were mostly post-production stuff, e.g. lousy and disjointed music, rough and disjointed cut, bad CGI, bad image composition which make a real stunt looks like a fake stunt.

Yep. If only the movie was left as it was taken without any post- production things (like let the background were green), it might be more enjoyable than this half-finished movie.

The other problem was lack of screen time for Jeeja Yanin. In THE KICK, Jeeja Yanin didn't play the main character yet she stole the screen. Here, she barely exist although she appeared in the final fight.

Once you can get pass through the annoying things, the movie was actually have a better stuff which could make it a way better than Donnie Yen's Special ID.

TYG 2 was actually felt more like the sequel of Ong Bak instead of Tom Yum Goong.

The earlier scene where Tony Jaa taught children three martial art movement based on elephant movement reminded me to the earlier scene of Ong Bak which Tony Jaa exhibit all the movement from Muay Boran. I was excited watching the scene but unfortunately, that idea was developed into action only for .. err.. two fight scenes. The other fight scenes was all-the-stuff-we-have-seen-from-previous-movies.

The bikes-chase-scenes were kind of mixing between Tuk-Tuk chase scene and gambling gang chase scene from Ong Bak. This scene, which should had been great, unfortunately was the most unfortunate scene ruined by those half-finished post-production.

The actor which may gain benefit from this movie was Marrese Crump who played as Fighter #2. I counted there were four fight scenes in which he appeared. The first fight was so and so (He against Tony Jaa, Jeeja Yanin, and another girl). The second one was amazing (he against Tony Jaa). The third one was too fantasy and the CGI were not good. The fourth one, which also the final fight was good although the choreography was so and so.. but it was tense.

If I'm not mistaken, there will be a project, 'FORMLESS', which had him as a star and also collaborate with the same team from Tom Yum Goong 2. I can't wait to watch it but I wish Sahamongkol Film will really take time to finish the post-production as necessary. Releasing this kind of half-baked movie was really a grave mistake.
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After watching this movie, I found myself lost my appetite to other action movies. For me, other action movies was a snack
21 November 2011
My number one list action movie is The Matrix because it balanced the depth of the story with the action. Somewhere among the top list, there was also The Dark Knight for the same reason. However, when speaking only 'action', I used to choose a Hongkong movie, Flashpoint, starred by Donnie Yen. Before Flashpoint, I'll choose a Thailand movie, Ong Bak which launched Tony Jaa career internationally. Now, when I speak an action movie that speak for the action, I will choose an Indonesia movie, 'THE RAID', choreographed by Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhiyan and starred by them.

The problem with Donnie Yen's Flashpoint was you need to wait about one hour and fifteen minutes to get the action really start but when it started, it was really worth to wait. The fight between Donnie Yen and Collin Chou, inspired by MMA especially BJJ was so well choreographed and made audience hold their breath and asking "are this sh*t a real thing?". In Evans' latest, THE RAID, you won't need those one hour and fifteen minutes because he already made the audience gasps in the first fifteen minutes.

I wouldn't say a thing about Ong Bak because in my opinion, Merantau was more superior than Ong Bak. The problem with Merantau was Gareth was trying to bring audience to understand the culture of Silat first because showing the full action.You can said, Merantau was like Yamakasi doing for parkour while The Raid was the B-13 of silat.

It is useless to review this movie from the plot because there wasn't any significant plot. The plot was made only to bridge between one action scene to other action scene. But d*mn! Even with the weak dialog and cliché plot, Gareth executed it well so we, the audience, didn't have time to analyze this or that. What we know, we were flooded by f*cking awesome action movies from infiltration scene, massacre scene, and of course, martial art scenes when the characters have run out of bullets.

I remember when one of Merantau review said Merantau was Ong Bak when handled professionally. The same can be said with THE RAID. The Raid was Flashpoint with larger actions and handled professionally from the music, cinematography, and even the visual effect.

The music composed by Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemal was like a combination between Hans Zimmer's Joker theme and Rage Against The Machine. It brought the audience immediately to the brutal tone of the movie. In some scenes, those music suddenly disappeared, leaving uneasiness to the audience. I wonder how Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park will interpret the scene to his score because Prayogi and Yuskemal score was perfect for the tone of this movie and it was really different with any Linkin Park score.

The sound effect, oh my, I hardly believe this is Indonesian movie. Even Hongkong movies are rarely have this good sound effect, You can differentiate between the bullet shot next to you to the bullet shot from the next room, The sound of knife slashing was so beautiful to listen and combined by the beautiful art of Silat, the scene was a masterpiece of a brutal dance of angel of death.

THE RAID has little visual effect but when they did, it was done amazingly and effectively. Frankly, prior to watch this movie, I was a little bit disappointed when I heard there will be slow-motion scene in the movie. However, Gareth proved me wrong. He was not Zack Snyder. The slow-motion was done only in one scene and perfectly executed which I hardly imagined how it should be done in other way.

Matt Flanery and Dimas Subhono as DOP played camera creatively and yet it captured all the motion perfectly. In fact, some scenes was like a scene taken from art movie due to their creative angle but it didn't reduce the brutal tone of the movie, didn't make the impact of every punch and kick weaker, in fact, in some scenes, it enhanced the "BAM!" factor.

The choreography was the factor which made this movie popular. I have said previously that even the fight scene between Donnie Yen and Collin Chou in Flashpoint had been surpassed by almost every fight scene in the movie. In Merantau, Gareth didn't want to show the brutal image of silat due to the main character of that movie was a naive and kind young man from village. In this movie, the characters are cops and bad guy, so either be killed or kill. Both Iko and Yayan have choreographed it so well so even one reviewer said "I didn't know there was so many ways to kill people until I saw this movie" and he was right. Jeff Imada (Bourne Identity) and Yuen Woo Ping will recognize these people from Indonesia and you'll probably hear about them in coming years among the top list of fight choreographer.

After watching this movie, I found myself lost my appetite to other action movies. For me, other action movies was a snack before I can watch the next Gareth Evans project, BERANDAL.

  • Kunderemp -
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Forget The Surfer, just watch Dr. Doom!
15 June 2007
I don't want to give any spoiler anyway, you can find it elsewhere easily.

I'm not one of those who love the trailer. There is nothing new with the special effect, indeed. Hence, I didn't have any high expectation when I saw this movie with my mother in Indonesia. However, the second trailer which showed Dr. Doom being attacked was interesting so I knew the presence of Dr. Doom will be a different one.

In the first movie, Dr. Doom character was a joke. I didn't even remembered how he fought in the first movie.

But not in this one. It is fortunate, Dr. Doom sequences in the movie never appeared on the trailer except his encounter with the Surfer. It was great. That what I expected from an amazing villain from Marvel Universe.

However, for the next sequel, can somebody tell Avi Arad to propose another actress to act as Susan Storm, please? Until this sequel, I can't see how Jessica Alba fit on his role.
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Spider-Plant Man (2005 TV Short)
Problem of being Superheroes
5 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Almost everyone know being superhero is not easy. You'll be risked of being laughed by wearing ridiculous spandex costume, you miss your old glorious time. Can't help to laugh when I saw Batman doing curhat *) to Spider-plant Man or saw the reporter's comment on those superheroes.

It may not be the best of Rowan Atkinson but I didn't see him as Mr. Bean anymore in this movie.

From the title itself, it is clearly the parody of Spiderman. The opening credit sequence would reminded you the opening credit sequence of Spiderman 2 which show Alex Ross' version of the first Spiderman's story. The first three scenes was a parody of the first movie of Spiderman. The background music was clearly taken from Spiderman's (, isn't it? ).

It get better when Batman appeared on the screen. For those who think Batman and Robin should not played by middle-aged men, apparently, you missed the joke. Begin as the parody of Spiderman, it grew to a critic of Superheroes movie.

I only regret the movie was too short.

*Curhat: It is a slang of Indonesian Language. It means, telling someone about your problem, about how you feel about your problem, to get other's sympathy.
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Better than Twins Effect 2
1 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not the fans of the original comics (Long Hu Men or Dragon and Tiger Heroes) but I read some of them so I knew, there was something wrong with the protagonists' appearance.

It was their hair! Tiger Wong (Wong Xiao Hu) and Turbo Shek (Shi Hei Long) didn't have the hair that long. Only Dragon Wong (Wong Xiao Long) who have the long hair.

The main characters also changed. In the comics, the main character is Tiger Wong (Wong Xiao Hu) but in the movie, the main characters is his brother, Dragon Wong. Maybe it is about Donnie Yen.

The first two fight scenes was amazing. I love the fight in Japanese Restaurant which really took the fight in the comics into widescreen without losing its reality grip.

The fight in Baseball court is good but we saw this kind of fight too much in other wuxia movie.

And when the Shibumi, the chief of Lousha Gang fought, suddenly the excitement decreased. And it hards to understand how can our warrior penetrate the enemy's headquarters without fighting the inferior first yet. (Wesley Snipes' The trilogy of Blade is better about this])

The excitement started to begin again when the main hero, Dragon Wong (Donnie Yen) appears to fight Shibumi. His "18 Dragon Palm" was amazing although it was a little bit similar to Tony Jaa's muaythai in Ong Bak. However, the moment was short and the movie disappointing again by giving the audience a bad finishing touch for the fight.
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Best Indian Movie I ever watch, but it is not good enough..
12 August 2005
I used to watch Indian movie since the times of TV-Series Mahabharata and since then, there are lot of Indian movies in television in my country, Indonesia (although all of them is dubbed to Bahasa Indonesia). To be honest, I'm not an India movie lover. I hate the dances which always interrupt the movie, which unfortunately is the trademark of Bollywood (Don't mention 'Kamasutra' :-p). Every time the the TV show Indian movies, I always changed the channel because I almost never wanted to see it.

That's the reason why Asoka is the Best Indian Movie. I turned the TV on, and Asoka was on the channel although it has already played for, perhaps 15 minutes. The first Indian movie which attracted me to watch it, not because its story (i.e Mahabharat and Ramayan) but because the quality of its picture. In the first minutes I saw it, I couldn't say whether the movie is a bollywood movie (hey.. I watched the dubbed version.. except the song and dances, instead of Hindi, they speak 'Bahasa Indonesia' in my television :-p) Asoka, was also the first Indian movie I ever watched which the song and dance were so unified which the story and hence, I didn't feel of being interrupted. That was a good record for a man who always went to toilet every time the dances-and-song began.

The other thing that should be praised and also the only thing which was an original idea in the movie was the 'Three guys and a Girl'. Funny guys and the funny things they did was common both in Bollywood and non-Bollywood movie. However, usually, they are integrated with the whole movie. In Asoka, the funny three soldiers and a girl were actually a different story which can be removed from movie. However, removing those scenes would made the movie incomplete because those scene actually a hidden narration which explained the situation of the scene after them.

A similar scene can be found in Indonesia culture, to be exact: Javanese Culture. There are "goro-goro" sections in every wayang kulit (shadow puppet) show, which usually have punakawan (servant) and sometimes a soldier of enemy. The scenes is used to tell jokes to entertain audiences after heavy story and to tell the moral story and explain why the characters did such and such. From all movie I ever watched (bollywood, Hollywood, hk-movie, Japanese, France, Italian, Iran), these concept only be found in Asoka.

The disappointing things in this movie were:

1. the first narration after the little-Asoka scene which was actually unnecessary since the 'three guys' and a girl has described it more clever and succinct,

2. the kalari (or kalaripayatt, an ancient martial arts from Kerala) wasn't emphasized. The first time you saw it, you would think the movie maker try to imitate China kungfu which they didn't. Because the fight were only about jump and dodge. The slow-motion made the situation worse. You wouldn't think Kalaripayatt as a unique martial arts if you only see it from this movie, and hence, the movie was failed compared to Only The Strong (Capoeira) and Ong Bak (Muay Thai). Choosing kalaripayatt was actually an error due to the story was set in Magadha and Kalingga but the Kalari can only be found in kerala (South India),

3. the last narration told us Asoka had spread Buddhism to other countries. It didn't tell something that I found it to be interesting. Asoka symbol was in India flag,

4. the movie didn't tell us why Asoka choose Buddhism instead of other religion such as Jainism, as the base of his idea of peace, but lot of movie based on real character did the same mistake such as 'Motorcycle Diaries' (err. Mexico? Argentina?) or Gie (Indonesia). The Chinese ( Zhang Yimou's "Hero" and "Emperor and The Assassin") were better in describing the reason.

In the end, it was a good movie, but it wasn't good enough.
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worse than history teacher
12 August 2005
Failed to watch this movie, I bought the VCD and I really feel disappointed.

KH Noer Ali, the main character was rarely appeared in the story. In fact, every time he appeared, he only gave a preach, not in 'ulama-sense' but in monotonous teacher.

The battle were pity. Indonesia soldiers were famous by their"gerilya" (guerilla) tactic which often confusing the Dutch soldiers. In this movie, the equipped-with-low-standard-weapon Indonesia soldier attack the Dutch in open field which were suicidal strategy.

One of the character was a dutch girl who sympathized with the Indonesia struggle. The funny thing was, there was a scene when she wear an army uniform. Didn't she afraid of being falsely recognized as enemy in the eyes of Indonesia soldiers? It would be more make sense if she kept her civilian clothes.

The fictional-triangle-love which was meant to be an entertaining part of the movie, was also badly developed.

Reading a thick history book will be more entertaining than watching this movie.
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Soerabaja '45 (1990)
best war-scene in Indonesia war movie
12 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is the second best of Indonesia war movies in my list which took Indonesia Independence War (1945-1949) as its setting.

The story itself based on true story about the bravery of people in Soerabaja (now Surabaya). Although in the battle, Indonesia was lost, the Soerabaja people fight was always remembered.

The movie started when the Japanese lost the war and the proclamation of Indonesia Independence was spread by the Radio. The people of Soerabaja attacked and took the weapon from Japanese soldiers and swore to loyal to Indonesia.

When the British arrived in Soerabaja, the people accepted them because the British army came to handle the Japanese Soldiers. The problem arose when British did not admit the existence of Indonesia. And the climax started when a British general died in explosion. The British attacked Soerabaja, tried to conquered it but they couldn't do it without sacrificing many of their soldiers. Although in the end, Soerabaja people lost the war, there wasn't anything left in Soerabaja to be claimed by British and the war had just began.

Soerabaja '45 sometimes fell into "propaganda" but it saved by little incidental funny situations which, in the story, was made by ignorance of naive (but brave) Arek Soerabaja (Arek = youngling). Can you imagine how a person who never be in the war before, practiced how to throw a grenade? Can you imagine, in the stressful situation, they still joked like said, "I'll fight until the last coffee"? (It described the addiction of Indonesia people to coffee).

The war was amazing for Indonesia movie. While the other Indonesia-war-movie usually only shows gun-fighting, this movie shows a lot of explosion, even the body thrown by the explosion (Eight year before Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan).

If you count how many language was spoken in this movie, you'll surprised because there were 5 languages: Indonesia, English, Japan, Dutch, and Java.
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Tutur Tinular (1997– )
the best plot of Indonesia silat-movie
12 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For the non-Indonesian readers, yup.. we have our own martial arts which is called as Pencak Silat or just Silat.

Most of the Silat movie have standard story. Most of them tell about young lad who had just finished their study and searched the murder of their family and had revenge on them. But that was not the story of Tutur Tinular. And when the other silat story are lack of history background, Tutur Tinular have accurate history background. You can compare the story to most wuxia written by Louis Cha or Jin Yong.

The story began when Kamandanu, a blacksmith's second son, was interested to an old sage, Ranubhaya who was an expert in martial arts. He started to study martial arts from Ranubhaya and learned that Ranubhaya was actually his father's schoolmate in weaponry. While Kamandanu's father chose to be a weapon supplier to government --at the time: Kingdom Singhasari, Ranubhaya chose to not cooperate with the government and isolate himself.

When the father learn the teacher-student relationship between his second son and Ranubhaya, he became angry and accused Ranubhaya as traitor and used the government army to attack Ranubhaya's shrine. The relationship between Kamandanu and his father became worse and Kamandanu wanderer as a warrior.

The story became more complex when Ranubhaya, which had survived from his house destruction, was kidnapped by Kubilai Khan's envoy who were amazed by his expertise in weaponry. Being a prisoner in China, he was forced to make a great sword, Nagapuspa (naga means dragon). Finishing the sword, he was murdered by the official who was afraid if Ranubhaya created another sword for rival of Nagapuspa. Before his death, he asked a warrior couple, Lo Si Shan and Mei Ling, to bring the sword to Che Po (Java Island, pronounced in old-china language)and give it to Kamandanu.

The story was continued by the involvement of Kamandanu in Raden Wijaya's troop, survivors of Singhasari kingdom after being attack by Kediri kingdom. The involvement repair the relationship between Kamandanu and his father, especially after his brother, Dwipangga betrayed them. Kamandanu helped Raden Wijaya created his own kingdom, Majapahit.

Tutur Tinular was started in Kertanegara's era (last king of Singhasari) and ended in Jayanegara's era (second king of Majapahit). It began when the main character was still young and ended when the main character had already old. It shows the development from an idealist young lad to a sage who didn't want to see the war again and isolated himself.

The development of other characters were also interesting. Dwipangga for example, was began his life in this story as a physically weak poet. Then, he tried to changed his life by betrayed his family for golds of Kediri. After being beaten and humiliated by his own brother in front of his wife and his son, he studied martial-art and became a scary warrior, called as Penyair Berdarah (Bleeding Poet). After beaten by Kamandanu for the second time, he disappeared and forgotten until his daughter found him as a pitiful helpless blind old man.

The picture quality of this TV-series wasn't good as you expected in America's TV series. The quality was as bad as old Hong Kong Kungfu TV series. The slow-motion made the fight scene worse.

However, the dialog and the story was the best among Silat movies. There were lot of philosophy and dilemma in here. There were some references to ancient Hindu-influenced Java culture such as Mahabharata.

The series was based on Radio drama. Before the series, there were adaptation in form of cinema movie (the movie was simplified the story too much) and another series (which started after Raden Wijaya's death). The 1997-series was the best adaptation.
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disappointing movie
12 August 2005
This is a legendary movie which I expected so much before I had a chance to watch it. When I saw it, I felt so disappointed.

The picture was good. The acting of the actors and actress was superb. The story itself was also good. The problem was the battle scene. It was really disappointed.

I also felt disgusted when I saw the scene after Tjoet Nja' Dhien's victory. I didn't think what Tjoet Nja' Dhien did (in the movie) was appropriate for a Muslim warrior.

The movie was obviously contain propaganda. There were attempt of viewing Dutch soldier as incarnation of Satan by doing something immoral (taking picture over the body of the defeated Acehnese... C'mon, Did they really do such horrible things? There should be a picture if those event was really happened ).

This movie was just a good movie just because some people say it was good.
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jakarta in the night
12 August 2005
This is a festival-typical movie. Attempting to explore a simple life (as Majid Majidi did in "Children of Heaven" and "Baran"), Riri Riza had succeeded in showing the audience, the JAKARTA.

Jakarta is a scary big city, especially for them who have just arrive from other cities/villages and for them who are part of older generation. They see Jakarta as mess and heretic city while the younger generation see Jakarta as the city of freedom and salvation.

The movie itself was set in Blok M, one of the busiest districts in Jakarta in Day and Night. You can see the corruption, anger, immoral behavior in the day and low-class nightlife. You can see the shock experienced by the older generation (imagine how shocked the character of father was in "Coyote's Ugly" when he saw his daughter --which he expected to be a singer-- became a dancer in nightclub).

And when most people in Indonesia think the Jakarta people's mind is always about how to be a rich people, this movie is accurately shown that is not the case. The most priority in Jakarta people's mind is about how to survive. How to continue the live until the next day and the day after. And morality is not the main issue in Jakarta lifestyle -- which may considered as heretic by conservative people.

The story itself ended when the mother saw her daughter would not sacrifice her moral for surviving.
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Gie (2005)
A good attempt of non-documentary biography from Indonesia
12 August 2005
The first thing in my mind after watching this movie was INTERPRETATION IS LEGAL!!

If you found this movie was disappointed then the diary which this movie was based on, was also disappointed since it only had fragment of events instead of Soe Hok Gie's mind. The director has tried to add some fictional character (at least 3) to dramatize the story but the result was not as good as I expected.

Removing three girls and adding two fictional girls in the name of the romance won't get any praise from me. When (if you read the diary) the real Gie was a platonist and he couldn't tell anyone, even him self, whether he loved one or more of those three girls, in the movie, Gie were able to determine he loved one of those two fictional girls.

Adding 'Chin Han' in the movie could be a good decision. Chin Han was representation of grass-root people, especially they who were actually blind in politic world but naively support a party. If only Riri Riza stopped after the scene when Chin Han was kidnapped in the dawn of Soeharto's era, this movie would not be a tendentious movie.

Removing the detail of the scene when Gie met Soekarno, especially the dialog, was the part which really disappointed me. Instead of showing how Gie accused Soekarno as immoral president (as he described in his diary), Riri Riza presented a story of a too-large-jacket which worn by Gie in Istana Presiden (President's Palace). Was Riri afraid of Soekarno's supporter? Whatever the reason is, the scene was disappointed, just as "Soekarno met Marhaen" scene in Yayasan Anak Bangsa's Soekarno which was released three years before.

Gie was shown as most-perfect man in this movie and nobody else in the movie as perfect as he was. He had respect to woman. He was an idealist. But in reality, he was just a naive (and some times naughty) young lad. He watched the porn movie (he admitted himself in the diary). He had a serious discussion with Ong Hok Kam (also bright student) who unfortunately, Riza reduce his name to "one of Gie's friend".

The movie version of Gie wasn't a real Gie.. Well, at least, it didn't close to my interpretation of Gie. However, as I said in the beginning, "interpretation is legal"
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Tragedi (2001)
One of disappointed Rudy Soedjarwo's movies
12 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There were something funny about Rudy Soedjarwo. His odd-number movies was always good but his even-number movies was bad. The first one, BINTANG JATUH was good. This movie, the second one was disappointed. The third one, ADA APA DENGAN CINTA was phenomenal. The fourth one, RUMAH KETUJUH was disappointed (despite of good scenario). The fifth one, MENGEJAR MATAHARI, was superb. The last one was disappointed.

Tragedy was Rudy's experimental of creating action-mafia-movie. It was heavily influenced by Guy Ritchie's LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARREL. There were a group of men who had trouble after they gambled and they needed to find money as soon as possible.

As the substitution of drug mafia, a secret society who were stupid enough to their criminal records in website, became the main characters' enemy because they protect a woman who previously download the record.

There were lot of illogical plot in this story. Watch this movie and be prepare to be frustrated. Using bullet-time effect in the last scene did not help this movie but instead, degrading the quality.
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the best movie of Garin Nugroho although he denied it
12 August 2005
I still don't understand why Garin Nugroho denied this movie as one of his best?

Garin Nugroho is a legend in Indonesia Cinema. While the Indonesia movie society was collapsed, he was still productive and made some movies which most of them was recognized by foreign festival. However, almost no one in Indonesia was interested in his movies.

And then, there were questions, how good his movies were? A reviewer in daily Kompas said (and I absolutely agree with him) Garin's movie were actually rubbish in story-minded point of view and their ultimate flaws hid beneath the amazing picture and ethnic culture. Unfortunately, lot of reviewer praised him although most of them couldn't understand his movie at all just because he was "Garin Nugroho" who received a lot of award.

Puisi Tak Terkuburkan is his best movie which I ever watch. Although there wasn't any amazing picture in this movie, the plot line was good and it based on true story. It revealed the harsh condition in Aceh soon after the G-30-s moment. There were false accusation, lie, and blaming in everywhere.

There were some scenes which weren't in the movie but instead, it was retold by the main character which played as himself. It was a good approaching because we saw the trauma experienced by the victim.

This is Garin Nugroho's best movie and yet, he denied it.
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Oeroeg (1993)
the best fiction of Indonesia Independence War
12 August 2005
There were some movies which took Indonesia Independence War (1945-1949) as their setting. Most of them fell into two categories, propaganda and rubbish. Only few movies which were really good, such as Nagabonar and Soerabaja'45, although the latter sometimes fell into propaganda. Oeroeg was the best movie which took the era as it sets and ironically made by Netherland, which were Indonesia's enemy.

When the other movies only talk about the war, this movie took a deeper approaching. It pulled us to understand the reason behind the war. Why the Indonesian refused to be controlled by the Dutch. It showed the discrimination experienced by Indonesian as third class citizen in the Dutch rule.

The movie also showed a empathized-to-Indonesia-movement Dutch teacher which help Indonesia fighter degrading the fighting spirit of Dutch soldiers. It was more realistic role for foreigner in Indonesia at the time instead the irrational role which sometimes appeared in this genre (such as a dutch soldier in Indonesia line in "Singa Karawang" which was impossible due to high risk of being falsely recognized as enemy by the Indonesia people itself).

The dialog was also interesting. In the last scene, Johan, as the main character ask Oeroeg whether they have already in the same degree. Oeroeg's cynical reply is still relevant today. When the developed countries often call the other countries as the Third world, isn't it another form of humiliation in modern world?
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