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The Asian ApertureMerantau
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, June 5, 2012    Share

Get ready to add a new martial arts style to your list of great action movies. Just as Bruce Lee brought cinematic Jeet Kune Do to the masses and Jackie Chan kick started the drunken kung fu genre and Tony Jaa with Muay Thai, comes a new legend, Iko Uwais, with Penchak Silat. Silat is a kick ass style from Indonesian that movie fans are sure to enjoy.

Just as young adults enter college as a rite of passage, Indonesians go through Merantau, meaning leaving the home and family and making your way into the world. Merantau is the story of Yuda who says goodbye to Mom and Dad and his older brother and hops on the next bus. His journey takes him from his small rural village to the big city life of Jakarta. Life is not going to be easy for Yuda. The apartment he rented has been demolished and after several attempts to phone his realtor end in vain, he is forced to sleep inside a concrete pipe on a construction site. All Yuda really wants to do is to teach his beloved Silat. Eating lunch at a local café, his wallet is stolen by a starving young boy, named Adit, who he naturally chases. He finally catches up just as the boy’s sister, Astri is arguing with her employer, who runs a night club that employs young girls to dance on tables. Things escalate and Astri is slapped around to which Yuda, always the noble warrior, steps in to show off Silat. You would think getting your butt whipped would put an end to it but now the stupid villain must continue to fight Yuda, at every chance he can get.

It is at this point that Merantau turns into an action movie. Various thugs and henchmen try to make Yuda, Astri, and Adit’s life difficult. A love story develops between Yuda and Astri. Also, Adit looks up to Yuda. These tender moments are artfully inserted in-between scenes of bloody, bone breaking carnage that make an interesting contrast.

We all know that Merantau will end in a huge brawl with heinousness bad guys and hundreds of henchmen. That is where the movie falls short. As is typical in the martial arts movie genre, Yuda beats several strong men, without breaking a sweat. Then he takes on two bad guys at once. You would think that fatigue would set in and cause Yuda to stumble or pass out, but he keeps going.

If you like movies like Ong Bak that have a simple plot that you will love Merantau that seems like a simple story that actually becomes move involved and emotional towards the end. I will not ruin the ending. Go see Merantau with your action fix.

Highly Recommended

4 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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