Gareth Evans’ action flick The Raid was a game changer. It features fists and feet flying a fury but the speed of the martial artists on display was captured and edited clearly that the audience could feel the fists lands, squirm when bones break, and immerse themselves in the violent tension of the simplistic story. The stars of The Raid were so impressive that they captured the attention of Hollywood, with Iko Uwais briefly appearing in The Force Awakens and meatier role in Mile 22 as co-star Joe Taslim has popped up in Fast & Furious 6 and Star Trek Beyond. Now that Uwais and Taslim have reunited in writer-director Timo Tjahjanto wild action thriller The Night Comes for Us, the comparisons to The Raid will be many. It’s because Timo Tjahjanto films in a similar style as Evans, using the camera a dancing partner in this ballet of brutality. But Tjahanto raises the bar of insanity, pushing the extreme violence to 11. The Night Comes for Us is the movie for those who thought The Raid was too tame.
Ito (Taslim) has been working for the cutthroat gangs of the Triads where he serves one of the Six Seas, deadly and ruthless enforcers tasked with doing the dirtiest of dirty work. One day, though, Ito sees the errors of his ways and makes a choice that will crumble the world that he knows. Instead of carrying out a hit on a young girl, Joe kills his fellow men and betrays his Triad bosses, all of whom will seek him out in search of a most gruesome vengeance. Among those tasked with tracking down Ito is Arian (Uwais), an ambitious figure in the underworld and formerly a close friend with Ito.
Ito and the young girl hold up in the apartment owned by some old friends, including the wild-eyed Bobby (Zack Lee), but the bloodthirsty gangs have been unleashed are slowly closing in on Ito and anyone who helps him. Things get even more dicey – literally – when two deadly women enter the picture, Elena (Hannah Al Rashid) and Alma (Dian Sastrowardoyo). These women say little but kill a lot. Ito has his youthful sidekick are soon joined by another deadly woman (Julie Estelle) who takes some persuading before agreeing to team up with Joe.
Practically every scene of The Night Comes for Us features a knockdown, drag-out brawl, sometimes multiple fights taking place in various locations as Timo Tjahjanto crosscuts between fights. The fight choreography is absolutely stellar but it’s helped by the fact that Tjahjanto and cinematographer Gunnar Nimpuno don’t want to present you with the illusion of speed by shaking the camera and allowing the lens do the work, but that the camera stays alongside its fighters and captures their swift movements clearly. It’s allows you get wrapped up into each punch thrown, each kick unleashed, each machete swung, and every bullet fired.
No matter how hardened you think your are towards cinematic violence, there’s a least one thing in The Night Comes for Us that will make you squirm. This film revels in violence and has no qualms about showing the most gruesome aftermath of each ghastly action. The level of gore on display in this one film would make up the blood budget for ten low budget horror films. Even as someone who can cheer on a good onscreen kill had to pick up my jaw off the floor after some of these brutal slayings in the film. Whereas I was able to enjoy the relentless violence and bloody aftermath, there are going to be many whom can’t quite handle the geysers of gore and severed limbs.
I love The Raid. I consider it to be one of the great action movies of the 21st century and a big reason is because its action is in service a very straightforward story – good guys, bad guys, one location, get to the top. The Night Comes for Us is the twisted cousin of The Raid. The way Timo Tjahjanto films his action sequences have taken a cue from Gareth Evans madcap masterwork, but the plotting her is a bit more convoluted, with past relationships explaining characters’ actions later in the film. For the most part, that works but it takes a little while to remember which older bad guy is which. But for sheer cinematic violence and absolute action insanity, The Night Comes for Us is an absolute must-watch. It’s a sheer ballet of brutality, the grace of movement in service of grotesque violence.
The Night Comes for Us
A wild, action-packed film from writer-director Timo Tjahjanto, The Night Comes for Us pushes the boundaries of cinematic violence with non-stop fights featuring limbs lost, geysers of blood spouting, and million little moments to make you squirm.