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.
Writers:Gareth Evans, Daiwanne Ralie (translation)
Stars:Iko Uwais, Sisca 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.