Picture
Merantau(2009)
134 min 

In Minangkabau, West Sumatera, Yuda a skilled practitioner of Silat Harimau is in the final preparations to begin his "Merantau" a century's old
rites-of-passage to be carried out by the community's young men that will see him leave the comforts of his idyllic farming village and make a name for himself in the bustling city of Jakarta. After a series of setbacks leave Yuda homeless and uncertain about his new future, a chance encounter results in him defending the orphaned Astri from becoming the latest victim of a European human trafficking ring led by the wildly psychotic, Ratger and his right-hand man Lars. With Ratger injured in the mêlée and seeking both his "merchandise" and bloody retribution, Yuda's introduction to this bustling city is a baptism of fire as he is forced to go on the run with Astri and her younger brother Adit as all the pimps and gangsters that inhabit the night hound the streets chasing their every step. With escape seemingly beyond their grasp, Yuda has no choice but to face his attackers in an adrenaline charged, jaw-dropping finale.

Director:Gareth Evans
Writers:Gareth EvansDaiwanne Ralie (translation)

Stars:Iko UwaisSisca Jessica and Christine Hakim
 
Merantau was made before The Raid: Redemption. Both films have
similarities; a common cast and great fight scenes. But where The Raid excels in
explosive choreography Merantau falls behind just a little. I might be a tad
over-critical as there is a two year gap between the two films and a lot of
training and choreography can be planned. Unlike The Raid, Merantau has a story;
it's not much, but there is a basis for the plot and it resembles The Transporter. 
Yuda goes away on a sacrilegious pilgrimage to find his soul and to become a man in his
own way. After his initial plan falls through he does all he can to save a damsel in distress. Then as the cliche goes Damsel and Knight fall in love through it all.
 
Iko Uwais is the master of Silat as Tony Jaa is the master of Muay Thai.
These two actors/ action stars share many of the same qualities but in my own
personal opinion Uwais is a far better actor and fighter on screen. Donny
Alamsyah makes an appearance as Yuda's older brother which is ironic because in
The Raid Donny played the older brother of Uwais' Rama. Another familiar face is
Yayan Ruhian who plays a small role as a clean-shaved short-haired mercenary who
sacrifices himself for Yuda.
 
Merantau is a good film if you're a fan of action films. I found this movie
looking up previous and future work of Iko Uwais and this film, as well as The
Raid, is apart of some of the greatest fight movies of all time.
I recommend this film.

I give Merantau a 4/5. 

 
 
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Lockout(2012)
95 min  -  Thriller | Action | Sci-Fi  -  13 April 2012 (USA)
A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit
espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the
president's daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent
inmates.
Directors:  James Mather, Stephen
St. Leger

Writers:  Stephen St. Leger (screenplay), James
Mather
(screenplay), and 2 more credits »
Stars:Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter
Stormare
|

Luc Besson's films follow a similar pattern; a sarcastic bad-ass main character is
either betrayed, "shanghai'd", or forced the task of retrieving a certain
special object. If the object is a person there is usually a time-limit involved
with either the main character and/or the object dying when the timer strikes
00:00. If the object is a weapon the world or a certain area is at risk of
destruction if the task isn't completed or the timer runs out. 

In The Fifth Element Bruce Willis was tasked in getting Milla Jovovich to the
temple of life to save the planet from destruction. In Transporter 2 Jason
Statham was made to track down a kidnapped child all-the-while saving the day
from a toxic disease. Lockout introduces you to Guy Pierce as he plays "Snow,"
who is "shanghai'd" into saving the president's daughter who is held hostage on
a interstellar space prison where 400+ maximum security prisoners are let loose
and causing chaos. 

This movie is all about Snow. Don't let the exciting plot fool you, don't let the
pretty girl cloud your judgment, and don't let the low-grade CGI give you a
headache. This is a launch-pad film for Guy Pierce and he knows it. His
character is heroic, sarcastic, self-obsessed, fearless, and outspokenly funny.
You'll recognize a lot of the cast, but the main focal point is the character
arc of Snow and the mystery of why he was set-up to go to prison for 30 years
and why he's such a good guy underneath all that pompous exterior.
 
For such a futuristic film there's not a lot of emphasis on technology and science.
Plot holes like present day medicine is used, most electronics run off of normal
wires, and most of the weapons are SWAT grade issue. Other than seeing a CGI
space station and some glowing stars out the windows you forget that this is
futuristic film.
 
More or less Lockout is a fun action film. It's not supposed to be taken literally
and it's not the best piece of cinema in anyones library but it's a great solid
movie that is straight to the point and doesn't waste time on cheesy romance or
unnecessary scenes. I give Lockout 4/5.