Note: Those who don't like watching or reading about movie violence, maybe don't read this review. But if you do like movie violence, there's nothing necessarily wrong with you, so long as you're not hurting people or feeling compelled to hurt people or enjoying it when people really get hurt. Please don't hurt people. Thank you.
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“The Night Comes For Us” is that Netflix movie you start late at night, thinking maybe you’ll watch 10 minutes of it and then finish it tomorrow, but before you know it, two hours have passed and you’re so exhilarated by what you’ve just seen you can’t sleep so you might as well rewatch your favorite fight scenes again.
The 2018 Indonesian action thriller, which just dropped exclusively on Netflix, comes from many of the actors, martial artists and stunt performers behind the “Raid” movies, modern action classics in their own right. Like the “Raid” movies, this is a relentless procession of brutal violence. And yet “The Night Comes For Us” is much, much bloodier than those films. It is as gory as the goriest horror movie, a darkly funny, beautifully choreographed splatterfest featuring:
» An assassin with a razor-wire yo-yo that flays flesh from bone.
» A Nordic-looking sociopath who chops through a room full of heavies so gracefully it looks like she's dancing.
» A big, nearly unkillable cokehead named White Boy Bobby, who finds horribly creative uses for everyday objects.
» A fight at a butcher’s shop in which meat hooks, a table saw and the pointy end of a broken bone are used as deadly weapons.
And that’s just the first 30 minutes!
Written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto (“Headshot,” “Killers”), “The Night Comes for Us” is one of those movies that action junkies dream of: a simple (if at times near-nonsensical) plot in the service of ingeniously choreographed carnage.
The film’s antihero is Ito (Joe Taslim), an enforcer for the Triad. After Ito’s thugs massacre a village, Ito has a moment of conscience and refuses to murder a little girl.
The Triad is not super pleased about this. They want him and the girl dead. But Ito means to protect her.
He gets some help from his old gang, including the aforementioned White Boy Bobby. But they’ve got their work cut out for them. Half a dozen of Asia's most-skilled killers are on the way, including Ito’s estranged best friend, Arian (Iko Uwais, star of “The Raid” series).
Hovering about the fringes of it all is a mysterious figure known only as “The Operator” (Julie Estelle), whose loyalties remain in question.
Like the "John Wick" movies, "The Night Comes For Us" creates a layered world of crime, with killers, assassins and uber-assassins (called the Six Seas) each operating on their own code of conduct. There's even a killer ranking system.
All roads lead to an epic brawl between Ito and Arian — and I mean epic in the sense that it's like a 15-minute fight. But until then, we get fights. Fights in apartment buildings. Fights in butcher shops. Fights in warehouses and police vans and stairways and closets.
Many action movies utilize rapid editing schemes to hide the fact that they didn't do any real fight choreography beforehand. That's not the case here. This movie put in the work, and each of its fights is filmed in wide shots and long takes, and each of its fights is awesome.
Droves of men wielding machetes and axes charge into rooms where our heroes suffer gruesome damage fending them off, yet still somehow manage to keep on kicking/punching/stabbing.
In the hundreds of mamings and murders in “The Night Comes For Us,” just about every conceivable body part gets severed, flayed, hacked, bashed, exploded or set on fire.
Yes, it is gross. But it’s gross in a way that took great skill to pull off. Gross in a way that approaches artistry — a canvas soaked in blood, brain matter and bits of broken bone.
Obviously, this is not for everyone. But if you made it to the end of this review, it just might be for you, ya big sicko.