Foreign films, specifically in the action genre, have always had a hit-or-miss reputation with American audiences, but “The Night Comes For Us” really challenges exoectations. Although the Netflix original suffers from a lack of a well-written storyline, its brutal and over-the-top action sequences will keep fans of the genre on the edge of their seats until the very end.
In the past few years, Indonesia has produced some of the most impressive action films like “The Raid: Redemption” (2011) and “The Raid 2” (2014), proving there is a significant amount of talent there. “The Night Comes For Us” pulls its stars from the aforementioned “Raid” films with Joe Taslim as the protagonist, Ito, and Iko Uwais as the anti-villain, Arian. The plot centers around Ito, a former Triad enforcer, and his goal to protect a young girl as he tries to escape from his former gang as a result of his disappearance.
While the simple plot keeps the movie comprehensible, it’s never explained as to why an entire gang of criminals is trying to kill the girl that Ito is trying to protect. Ito saves her in the beginning of the film from being executed like the rest of her village. She doesn’t seem to carry any other importance besides providing the protagonist with a motive for wanting to right his wrongs.
The characters throughout the film are rather two-dimensional and fail to have any emotional weight attached to them. Ito has a small group of allies to help him protect the girl, but they all seem to die rather quickly. Any proper backstory for these characters is added posthumously and leaves audiences wondering why they should have even cared about them in the first place.
The greatest reason to watch “The Night Comes For Us” is for its action. The fight sequences are brutal and not for those who are even remotely squeamish. By the end of the film, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How much money was spent on fake blood?” Enemies are left either bruised, broken or dismembered by a variety of weapons like blades, guns and makeshift weapons. Whether one guy is thrown on a meat hook or another is beat to death with a billiard ball, the pure shock value of the amount of violence keeps audiences entertained until the very end. On the other hand, the fight choreography itself fell short in some moments. Although it’s significantly better than what most western action films offer, the actors definitely pulled some punches that took away from some of the immersion of the film.
At the end of the day, “The Night Comes For Us” has a few obvious flaws other than the extent of its merciless violence. If you have the stomach for it, the creativity put into the fight scenes makes it worth the watch alone.