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Merantau [Import]

Iko Uwais , Sisca Jessica , Gareth Evans    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Indonesia Flick. Sept. 13 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I think i've seen this scenario before,in different form i have to say,but this one
gives a more human element side to it,the kid never really got to do the job he
set out to do,i call him a kid because he is young,so all young men have to leave
their village on their own and explore their own fate to see if they could make it
in the big city,so when fate put him on a different path that's were the fighting
begin,i can't say I'm giving anything away just look at the cover it tells it all,
overall this is one action pact movie that will not let you down,the style of
fighting i have to say,i've never seen,it's like a sweeping kick,but it's good.
plus this movie won the best Jury Award at the 2010 Action Fest.
5.1 HD Master Audio.
runtime 1 hr. 53 minutes.
Great Indonesia Flick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indonesia is on the map April 6 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
the first full length movie showcasing the silat martial art is a very entertaining action flick that is still predictable for the most part but give a rather more human face to the action hero,
he is actually just a boy when he leaves his village to face the test of a pilgrimage in the "real" world. I would actually have liked that one of the deleted scenes was include in the final cut that gives more info on two of the characters relationship (I will let you be the judge). The aim was clearly to give Ong Bak a run for its money and I would say that for the most part it succeeds, the combat style is of course different from muay thai and the stuns are well done but not as impressive as T. Jaa or Jackie Chan movies, except for one that is the highlight of the chase scene. What is interesting is you that you can see that his way of fighting becomes more raw as he evolves into the story and his own journey after facing waves of henchmen until the ubiquitous end scene where he will face his final challenge in the face of two prostitution ring lord "friend" from europe. The only downside is the failed attempt to make you see their side of the story and the attempt to show the leader clear disregard for other's life was not convincing as well.
Bottom-line and excellent action movie with some nice twist due to a new style of fighting for the main audience. I cannot wait to see The Raid from the same team and see how they have matured since Merantau, according to the trailers the result already makes me salivating !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Movie Nov. 2 2011
If you're a fan of martial art movies then this movie should be a must watch. Fantastic fight scene choreography that gets better as the movie goes along combined with great stunts makes this a great movie for any martial arts fan.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Action indonésienne July 29 2011
Les amateurs et amatrices de films d'arts martiaux apprécieront ce film qui rappelle les cascades spectaculaires du premier Ong Bak et les films hongkongais des années 90. Comme Merantau provient d'Indonésie c'est le Pencak Silat, art martial local, qui est à l'honneur.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good martial-arts movie. April 9 2011
By Valen's Shadow - Published on Amazon.com
First off I would like to say that although there are comparisons to Tony Jaa in Merantau to its star Iko Uwais, that is all it is similarities. OK Iko Uwais doesn't have the same bone breaking intensity and crazy agility of Tony Jaa. However he is a superb martial-arts star in the making. While there are slight similarities to what Tony Jaa has done. Iko Uwais performs using the Indonesian martial-arts style Silat which I found very refreshing from the usual Chinese styles used in Hong Kong martial-arts Cinema and Tony Jaa's Muay Thai based performances.

The action takes a little while before it starts coming through giving the story and the characters the chance to develop. I think this pays off for the film and contrary to other reviewer's comments doesn't suffer as its director oversaw the editing of this international cut. This wasn't hacked up by a studio interference by people who had nothing to do with making the movie. Director Gareth Evans painstakingly edited the movie to lose all the extraneous material making this a leaner, meaner movie that is really very, very good.

The action sequences themselves improve with every fight getting better and better as Iko Uwais's character reluctantly unleashes more and more of his skills as he is forced to do so in his pursuit to help the young woman and her younger brother.

This is definitely one of the best martial-arts films of the last few years and is fully deserving to be in any martial-arts fans collection. If the other reviewer's 1 star rating comments about being cut are leaving you in two minds, I can tell you they are unfounded. Merantau is a very, very good movie. Still don't take my word for it rent it first and discover how good this film really is.

As for the other reviewer who thinks he could do better. Yeah right! Until this guy stops talking the talk and walks the walk, you can take that with a massive pinch of salt. Erin "Sky Blue Boy" I look forward to watching your martial-arts debut in a leading role. As you said you could do better even when you were out of shape.

By the way keep your eyes peeled for Iko Uwais in his next movie "the raid" which is now in production with Merantau director Gareth Evans behind the helm again.

Note - I think this is a four-star movie and think extremely highly of this film but I have given it a five star rating because of the ridiculous ratings by a couple of reviewer's, which I believe is highly undeserving. I've seen some downright terrible movies with poor martial-arts, poor acting and little to no story. This has none of those negative qualities and I can only speak about this film with the highest of regard.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rite of Passage of Iko Uwais Jan. 5 2011
By Mike Sehorn - Published on Amazon.com
With Tony Jaa having deserted moviemaking for the monastery, the title of top international action star is left vacant and up for grabs. Would-be successors have applied en masse, from English acroartist Scott Adkins to fellow Thai national Jeeja Yanin, and with the advent of the New Year, Indonesian martial artist/soccer player Iko Uwais throws his name into the hat with a most promising entry in "Merantau". Capable of doing for the Indonesian film industry what Ong-Bak did for Thailand, it's an extremely impressive audition tape with a vaguely stripped-down feel and occasionally light on the plot - definitely not the best all-around martial arts film of the last few years but more than serviceable in supplying the thrills. If nothing else, it promises a lot for both the star and director (Gareth Evans, Footsteps) should they be presented with a bigger budget. Those wary of taking a step down from the production power of Jaa's work might be leery, but action aficionados in general should be quick to help make this one into a cult classic.

The story: departing his peaceful village for his rite of passage, young silat practitioner Yuda (Uwais) travels to Jakarta, where he finds no work but a sister & brother pair of abandoned street children in need of his help (Sisca Jessica and Yusuf Aulia). Protecting them from the control of a sadistic French businessman (Mads Koudal, Six Reasons Why), Yuda needs to become the hero he never knew he was to take on an entire underground organization upholding a sex slavery circuit.

The plot is definitely modeled after "Ong Bak" and sadly serves as the major drawback of the movie. There's a good sense of righteous indignation with which Yuda beats down the sex traffickers, but the story itself is low on twists; there are a few inspired aspects concerning the relationships between the villains, but by large, there's nothing beyond the mandatory. The film's finale is built up throughout the last 40 minutes, and even though it supplies the same stellar action as the rest of the movie, the thread is worn thin even before the final battle takes place because the three before it felt like they could've been the last, as well. Considering that much of the cast is mostly composed of performers with little to no film experience (with the exception of Mads Koudal and Christine Hakim - bit player in Eat Pray Love - as Yuda's mother), acting is pretty decent and most slip-ups are due to the weakness of the script.

Of course, it's the action you're going to be watching this for, and I'm happy to say that it is both good and abundant. Though he'll occasionally borrow a kick or elbow strike from Jaa, Iko Uwais represents his home-learned style of pentjak silat with pride and authenticity. Throughout the course of the movie, he runs through an encyclopedia of strikes, holds and takedowns, counters and reversals, and weapons-handling that effectively defines the style as something rarely seen in movies (see Bounty Tracker for a notable exception). Despite never having made a martial arts feature before, director Evans is more than competent in shooting the fight scenes - utilizing long, uninterrupted shots with unfixed cameras and just letting Iko go nuts with his abilities in general. Some stuntwork is present - including an instance of a villain being struck in midair and falling over ten feet straight onto his back - but unlike in most fighting movies nowadays, it doesn't take precedence: it's all about the martial arts and dangit if they're not worth the emphasis.

The production is good (the fight scenes seem a bit stripped but nevertheless clean) with a decent scope, but the world seems oddly underinhabited, especially when it comes to the big trafficking operation. "Merantau" seems to take place in a world of its own, but luckily it's a world worth revisiting - one that introduces us to a very promising new star who deserves a bright future. Buy it if you appreciate solid physical action and it might just become a favorite.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indonesia, Sumatra, Silat and their hidden truths Dec 5 2011
By E. Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
MERANTAU (writ./dir. Gareth Evans, 2009, 134 minutes) is an awesome Indonesian film that portrays the use of the Indonesian martial art, Pentjak Silat (pronounced pen-CHAH sih-LEH) much like Steven Seagal originally exposed the good uses of AiKiDo.

Our hero Yuda (a handsome young Iko Uwais), a Minangkabau tribesman from Sumatra, goes on his traditional merantau to Jakarta, Indonesia from his tiny village. While it isn't really evident to outsiders, and not clarified in the film, the art used is a form of Silat known as "Silat Harimau" (Tiger Silat, which includes the use of the karambit "tiger claw" blade) and the Minangkabau are from Sumatra. The merantau (pronounced "mar-ahn-TAU") is a bit like the Aboriginal "walkabout", in which the person leaves the mother country alone and learns of the world outside.

Yuda immediately becomes involved with a stripper named Astri (the beautiful Sisca Jessica) and her little brother Adit (cute little Yusuf Aulia). He becomes determined to save her and her brother - become a father to them in a way. Just the thing for the perfect merantau. Naturally the Muslim Yuda will tangle with evil white infidel slave-traffickers and the explosive ending will leave you weeping, as it did me.

The cinematography is quite innovative and even stunning: there's a trick I have never seen used before, yet it is so simple it will leave you gasping with wonder. The choreography is near-perfect (a few pulled punches right on camera spoil some of it). Those stunt men are the cat's meow! I have never seen stunt work like it. Also, Iko Uwais is a skilled master. The soundtrack is quite good and modern; no silly eye-rolling feeling one gets from so many Asian film soundtracks.

This film is so very important, though it is formulaic. It is awesome to finally see an Indonesian film, to see the kinds of problems they have, and to see a martial arts film centered around silat. For a short while I studied silat, and never quit loving it. Now at least there's a baseline film showing it besides the weird Ong-Bak - The Thai Warrior series. It is also a hopeful reminder for today's world that Indonesia is a Muslim country.

If I haven't convinced you yet, let me just add that you should get this for its historicity alone. It's a fine film, not really for family viewing but I think teens can handle this in their stride. Just get it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see movie June 4 2011
By Dawn M. Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Excellent movie about a young man who must make his "Merantau" which means to leave his family and go out into the world to gain experience. He is trained in a form of self defense called silat and goes up against kidnappers who are human traffickers. The rest you must see.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indisputable Intrigue in Indonesia Sept. 8 2011
By Mantis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When a movie featuring a martial art I've never before witnessed on screen finally comes to film, I'm a happy man. Here that art is Silat, and while fight-choreography in movies does not equal practical application, it's always fun to see what can be done with various styles! Though this flick has received some complaints, I was not disappointed.

On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a young man named Yuda (Iko Uwais) is preparing for his merantau, a traditional (as opposed to capricious) rite of passage where he must make it on his own in the big city. He is excited and nervous but sets about his task with a high degree of optimism and boards a bus for Jakarta. Upon arrival, things don't turn out as planned but Yuda is determined to succeed. A little boy steals his wallet and the ensuing chase leads to him defending the boy's older sister from her abusive boss. She is then fired and isn't exactly appreciative of Yuda's skill or intervention. They go their separate ways until Yuda coincidentally finds the girl back in the clutches of her boss and some goons. Turns out the girl, Astri, was targeted by her employer to sell to some rich European brothers for international prostitution. Yuda takes her and her little brother, Adit, on the lam, with thugs-a-plenty on their tail.

Some of the criticism this movie has received is unwarranted and I'm not exactly sure why Iko Uwais is compared to Tony Jaa, though it was likely Jaa's success that enabled a project like "Merantau" to come to fruition. Vietnam's "The Rebel" (2007) probably didn't hurt either. While I suppose some physical characteristics are similar, Iko's style of fighting and acting are quite different. He is much younger than Jaa and has much more of a natural ease with dialogue. While I am a big fan of Jaa, I don't think he could pull off a character as gregarious as Iko's Yuda. While this movie doesn't exactly master the writing chops of say, the Coen Brothers, it's much more fully realized and competently directed than MANY martial arts flicks, including those starring Jaa. In terms of fights and stunts though, it doesn't quite hold up to Jaa's films. Which is not to say they are bad! Not at all! The fights in this are creative and plentiful, in addition to being well shot, performed, and edited, with few wires and reasonably long takes. Thank you!

The DVD from Magnolia has a beautiful widescreen picture with plenty of special features, including a "making of" segment, bloopers, and deleted scenes. In Indonesian (Bahasa?) with subtitles available in English and Spanish or English dubbed. If you are a fan of martial arts films, this is definitely worth a look. Certainly doesn't hurt to open to a little cultural diversity, either! Recommended.

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