Blood will be squirting, bones will be breaking and bullets will be flying in The Night Comes For Us, a gory martial arts action movie from Indonesia. It starts with a mass execution scene, which is always a good sign. You can expect over-the-top gore, simplistic storytelling, and great cinematography. Basically, if you saw The Raid: Redemption and are hungry for more of the same, this movie will do just fine. It’s nowhere near the brutal classic, but the action is delightfully gruesome and visceral. And that’s all you need from a movie like this. The production values are great and you can expect that sleek visual style you were hoping for. Apart from hand-to-hand action, there will be some really nasty fights with all kinds of knives and machetes.
The Night Comes For Us, apart from a cool title, also features one hell of a cast. Its two main starts are taken straight from The Raid and both Joe Taslin and Iko Uwais were great here. The fight sequences are masterfully choreographed albeit a bit unrealistic. Mostly because this is one of those twenty guys who wait their turn to get beaten up movies. I know this has been a staple of martial arts movies for decades but it feels dated and almost comical now. The locations, however, look phenomenal. They are grimy and look like someone actually lives there adding a sense of authenticity to the movie. The atmosphere is very intense and foreboding, as we will be constantly on the lookout for the next big fight. And the pacing is just pitch-perfect. After the first twenty minutes, we go in almost forty minutes of an unbroken bloodbath.
Ito just can’t do it anymore. He has reached his limit during a raid on a small coastal village when they killed everyone who was there. Working for the Triads, he has done his fair share of murder and torture. However, seeing a young and helpless girl about to die made him change his made and go on the run. Now, he’s trying to get away from one of the most powerful and ruthless criminal organizations in the world. They have a reputation to keep and they intend to tear not only Ito limb to limb but also the girl he’s protecting.
One of the weakest elements of The Night Comes For Us is its pretentious story. I mean, sure, we came here for all the fights and gore but it would be nice if we could get a decent story. It goes back and forth through time, trying to make something out of a rather superficial and shallow plot. On the face of it, all the necessary ingredients are there. From locations, gangs, and their leaders to the lives of ordinary people lured by the opportunities life of crime offers, everything was here. It’s just the way all these things work together is off. On the other hand, all this fades into oblivion once the action starts. And, as time goes on, there will be less and less exposition and more and more action. With a runtime of exactly two hours, this was the right move.
Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Martial Arts Movies. And you can go down the list of the classics like Ong-bak, The Villainess and Saat po long. I also have to mention 13 Assassins, Takashi Miike’s bloody masterpiece.
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Writer: Timo Tjahjanto
Cast: Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Hannah Al Rashid, Zack Lee, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Sunny Pang
Fun Facts: The Night Comes For Us is the first Indonesian Netflix production. Yet in Indonesia, one of the local largest internet & network provider (Telkomsel, who has 46% of the Indonesian wireless service market share) banned and blocked Netflix from their service.