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Sometimes I Kneel Down...

Sometimes I kneel down, tuck my knees in and lean forward.
That’s just how I roll.

The Night Comes For Us (2018)

The Night Comes For Us (2018)

It just doesn't get more savage than this! Indonesian movies - ever since my introduction to them with The Raid a few years back - are just on an entirely different level. It's like we're back at the nineties of HK action, with similarly depressing classics like Bullet In The Head, or American Deer Hunter with the added martial arts greatness you'd expect from anything Asian, but even bolder. That plus: knives. Lots of knives. And creative angles and methods of manslaughter where the blood just never dries...

It sounds as savage as it is, but amidst the mindless slaughter there are some surprisingly emotional moments too, and no matter how despicable types the movie might portray: their endeavors, their sacrifice, and their relentless will just can't leave you unaffected. They're fighting for something, and so strongly that you hope they win no matter what.

It brings forth the beast in me. The notion that there's something worth fighting for all after all. The thrill of characters who risk their all for the sake of something greater, and stare Death straight in the face - straight into the barrel of a shotgun - straight into the serenade of a dozen machine guns, as the night comes marching in.

Depressing? Inspiring? I'm not sure, maybe a bit of both, but when it comes to action like this there's just no comparison. No room for compromise. No room for mercy. No time for tears. As Faith once said: no time for regrets.

It's a macabre yet masterful craft. A Triad tale that despite the relevant naming and structure leaves the trademark alive; basking in the veil of mystery and violent terror. But I'd like to think he at least took that one other guy with him when he went. Into the eternal darkness.

It might be nice to end this on a lighter tone though. I really liked this particular, similarly-minded but oh so differently worded review, courtesy of MrSelfPaid:

You think you've seen it all? Action, blood, guts, brains, bullets, body parts, broken teeth, sliced fingers, chopped heads, smashed heads, broken skulls, broken bones, protruding bones, hmmm? Think you've seen it all? SMH ... you haven't... until you watch this film.
Watchers beware, this film is not for the faint of heart. If you plan on becoming an active war medic, or a member of the cartel torture squad... well you get my point. ..

Similar to that one movie I mentioned above this one also stars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim in the lead roles. I could name plenty more, like the blond girl, but you'd better just watch the movie. And/or read the credits.

Hope to see a lot of these guys again soon, though I wonder if there's any higher level they can bring it to after this. Great watch.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Scorpion King - Book Of Souls (2018)

The Scorpion King - Book Of Souls (2018)

So it's time for yet another take on the Scorpion King dynasty! And a good one, too. It took a while for it to convince me, but as they cross through the portal, and then the oceans, and move through the tomb... it grows on me.

The final showdown was small in scale, as was the chase - as they were with previous movies, and this is one thing I still hold against it, especially considering the scale and threat levels of the armies presented in the beginning. At least the sacrifice is all the more prevalent here. The eyes glow, the blue moon is beautiful, the swords spark fire as they rally against each other and the hero stands tall behind the flames... it looks good. It's a romantic adventure too, like only movies of this particular place and time seem to be, and Peter Mensah plays a good villain.

I wasn't sure about Zach McGowan as the Scorpion King (main hero of our story), but he did alright despite the sometimes unnaturally low-key voice, in good company of the beautiful Pearl Thusi and Katy Louise Saunders.

Not to not mention the fierce Mayling Ng (I saw her recently in Lady Bloodfight), mysterious Inge Beckmann, and the you-may-not-know-he-was-there always appreciative Muai-Thai Giant Nathan Jones! Of course I'm probably forgetting a few.

And hey, there's even a little parkour sequence! In the land before time. Along the desert dunes. It reminded me a bit of Assassin's Creed, though it feels refreshing and new in this particular context.

All in all: a pretty damn good movie. Atmospheric as few, and it grows on you as it goes. Even if certain parts of the plot are a bit too expected, and it's far from perfect in every way, there's enough atmosphere, relation and newness here for me to gladly give it a solid:

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

It Comes At Night (2017)

It Comes At Night (2017)

You want a depressing scary movie? You got it. It's a bit like The Fog, but with a bit less action... and a bit less fog. It's like a hybrid between that and the original Night of The Living Dead. Atmospherically. It's about a family holed up in a house, staying clear of the woods and the sickness that there roams, far from the city and a fallen civilization that oozes black blood.

And about the day a man breaks into their house, and everything changes.

It turns out all he tried to do was find some food for the family, and so after a time of contemplation they decide to bring him in. Him, his wife, and his little baby boy.

They go about their lives like usual, never mind the nightmares that wake them up some times in the dead of night - the stark stench of brunt corpses lingering in their nostrils... but then one day it all changes again.

It's a good movie. It's dark. It makes the most out of very limited scenery, looks good, feels heavy, and brings me back to the low-budget days of old, and still I wonder: why do I WATCH movies like this? Whatever do they give me but a poetic vein, a shiver, and a wavering remnant of pain? It's probably a high four but I just can't give more than a...

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

Here's the legendary Shaw Brothers take on Godzilla and Tarzan all in one! Only it's a female Tarzan (more like Jane), and Godzilla's Chinese: The Peking Man, they call him. He's a mastodon beast who towers over civilization where other men cower in fear, brought to the city via a brave expedition into the wild wides of (it looks like) India. But alas, his fate seems sealed in stone, no matter how they switch up the circumstance...

It's not a great movie by any means, but it's entertaining. Samantha (the female Tarzan) looks good, the props are elaborate - although not that authentic, and the wild animals really are WILD. It's a savage expedition done like they only did in the old days, when it seems they could treat animals and beasts just a little bit however they wanted. For good or bad.

It feels like moving away from the martial arts realm might've been the final turn for the Shaw Brothers, but unlike their more masterful martial art movies this one's definitely a whole other scale of elaborate. Could it be their most high-budget film? Maybe it was their gamble on expansion that didn't manage to go all the way, but I like what this could have been.

It stands its own ground, and for what it's worth: it's a work of art. From a generation of monster and destruction films unfortunately long forgotten. Just a shame that the quality, and story, isn't consistent... or just doesn't match the genre. It comes across more as a parody than the theatrical masterpiece it could have been.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Candy Tangerine Man (1975)

The Candy Tangerine Man (1975)

Blaxploitation movies here we go! :) This one's the story of a black pimp, who gets chased by a couple of white cops, and goes about a couple of long nights by exacting vengeance on a rival gang; leaving a bloody trail after him until... it's time to retire and live the good life with his family!

There's some cool stunts: people falling out of windows, a car chase, slow-mo action and paint-red blood, and girls, but there's really not much more to say about it. It wasn't particularly great, neither in act nor in action, but it was entertaining. There are bits of comedy too. And despite the genre (if you'd call blaxploitation a genre) there's not much exploitation is there? Apart from stereotypes of old it's the white guys who really fall short.

 rated 2/5: decent

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