Director/Writer: Gareth Evans
|Eka ‘Piranha’ Rahmadia||…||
Deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies an impenetrable derelict apartment building which became a safe house for the world’s most dangerous killers and gangsters. The rundown apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the bravest of police. Cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness and silence, an elite team is tasked with raiding the building in order to take down the notorious drug lord who runs it. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, the building’s lights are cut off and all exits are blocked. Stranded on the 6th floor with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city’s worst criminals to survive their mission.
This movie is remarkable. Never have I gone to a movie during the week, a movie that has been out for roughly two weeks, and have people still be cheering and gasping in awe. The audience was doing that and it wasn’t it even a super hero movie on opening night. Anyway, here’s my review.
The story is pretty simple and typical, but I didn’t care for it (yes, I know, movies need a good story or it just becomes dreadful to watch. But that’s only 90% true). The opening of this film is nicely done, it depicts what “Rama” is fighting for and how he plans to win, all without drowning the audience with all the rushed emotional moments that action movies tend to do at the start of a movie. It gave him depth at just the right pace. The writing, editing and direction is very well done for this scene. As I said the movies story is pretty typical, it’s nothing you can’t expect as it happens, but it isn’t so much a flaw to the movie (in my opinion anyway).
The Biggest flaw story wise, was that you couldn’t really tell who was who because for one, they all had a swat uniform on, and two, when the swat assignment leader started to list who to look out for, it was like he was saying it all for the very first time. Also, the director of the movie didn’t show us who he was referring to, so we had to guess who was who once inside the building and there weren’t many names used once the movie started (Not to be rude or anything). The other big flaw in this movie was the plot holes, but if you don’t think about it and just let it go then it doesn’t take away from the overall scope of the film. The ‘Moral of the story’ here was Family, Love, Understanding of ones circumstances and choices. The moral wasn’t as up front as Wrath of the Titans was, but it was detectable throughout. The other issue I had with the story was the ending.
The Acting, well.. since I didn’t understand anything that was spoken in what I will assume is the native tongue of the actors, I can’t really say it was good acting because all I had to judge was just the faces, which isn’t really enough to base anything off of. But for the most part, it was decent. The Stunt work/fight choreography, however is the highlight in terms of acting.
The stunt men & actual actors in this movie, like any other action movie (my Favourite genre by the way), is where the real acting comes from to sell the sequence. During each fight scene most to all actors involved were wicked in selling it. The flow of punches, kicks, knees & elbows, at times seemed staged, but other times, the consistency, and flow was just mad impressive. Rama has this raw, loose to his style. I don’t know if that’s from Muay Thai or just the actors style. A lot of the fight scenes have or ended in RUTHLESS kills that if you blink when the fighting starts you might miss it or something else. With that said, each level/floor they advance, and every new fight scene just ups the intensity of the fight with new challenges, settings, and fighters.
The cinematography had two ‘meaningful camera angles’ that are note worthy. The first came from inside the swat truck. The shot is a dolly to the man giving the briefing. The next one that was memorable was the first kill of the movie. Other than that it was slightly annoying when it came to the fight scenes. It was a mix of full body shots and the dreadful ‘shaky camera’. Yes, it brings intensity to a scene at times, but after a while it becomes tiresome. There was one point in the film, where the saying ‘shit just got REAL’ is visually said (the swat team is in some kind of stairwell), that it helps the scene. But the they enter some apartment, and its still going. It ‘works’ yes, but personally, they felt safe, they left the stairwell & blocked the doorway, so the shaking could have been reduced or stopped all together. Some fight scenes suffered from this effect which is sad. (Go watch the movie Ip Man, that’s how you shoot a fight scene).
Overall, this movie was well done. I don’t know the budget, but it worked, It has flaws, but so does The Dark Knight, and that’s probably the best movie made in the last couple of years. There isn’t much to complain about with this film, the flaws aren’t THAT noticeable but because I’m to review these movies, I notice these things. It’s a nice treat before the movie of the year “The Avengers” (yes. I believe that it will be).
- Overall rating of the movie: 3.8 out of 5,
- Cinematography: 2.8 out of 5,
- Editing: 3 out of 5,
- Audio: 3 out of 5,
- Acting: 3.4 out of 5,
- Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Theatres for sure.
THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW