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The Night Comes for Us (Movie Review)

The Night Comes for Us (Movie Review)
9 10

PLOT: When a Triad assassin spares a young girl's life and takes her under his wing, his employers send an army of bloodthirsty killers after them.

REVIEW: The martial arts action thriller THE NIGHT COMES FOR US kicks off with an inciting incident so common, the only surprising thing about it is the fact that it has been done yet again. This is one of those movies where the professional killer employed to pull off another hit falters and puts their own life in jeopardy when they can't bring themselves to murder the latest innocent person in their crosshairs. In this case, the professional is Triad assassin Ito (Joe Taslim), and after he and his associates massacre the residents of a village for messing in Triad business he can't kill a little girl named Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez). Instead, he goes on the run with her... and the Triad organization sends an army of hired killers after them.

The set-up may be way too familiar, but this isn't the sort of movie that needed to aim for mind-blowing originality. It has other ways to blow your mind. That set-up merely serves as an excuse for a relentless onslaught of action sequences. As Ito tries to get the little girl to safety with the help of three friends from his past, the film's primary focus is on the brutal physical confrontations, knife fights, and shootouts they have to endure on the way to freedom. Ito has done very bad things, but the fact that he didn't kill Reina lets us know he isn't as bad as these other bad guys, so we have permission to root for him during the mayhem that ensues.

If you're a fan of martial arts action films in general and of 2011's THE RAID: REDEMPTION in particular, this film is an absolute must-see. It feels very much in the same vein as THE RAID, which makes sense since  writer/director Timo Tjahjanto is close friends with THE RAID writer/director Gareth Evans (they even co-directed the V/H/S/2 segment Safe Haven) and a few of this film's cast members were in either THE RAID or THE RAID 2, including Taslim; Julie Estelle (she was THE RAID 2's "Hammer Girl"); Zack Lee, who really stands out in this film as Ito's off-kilter pal Bobby; and THE RAID and THE RAID 2 lead Iko Uwais, who plays a former friend of Ito's who now stands to benefit greatly from his elimination.

Anyone who has Iko Uwais on their trail better be a badass, and luckily Ito can certainly hold his own in a fight. We see evidence of this in a steady stream of hard-hitting fight scenes brought to the screen through incredible stunt work and choreography. The performers are pros, and their characters are reduced to a bloody mess, whether being beaten to a pulp, blasted into a fine pink spray with bullets, or hacked up with bladed weapons. While there is an abundance of fights, there's a nice variety to them; one fight might be about unarmed characters being outnumbered by armed attackers, another might be in the close quarters of a vehicle, the next might be a one-on-one slugfest.

THE NIGHT COMES FOR US boasts one of the most disgusting fight scenes I've ever seen, one that takes place in a meat locker. Cleavers, hooks, and a saw are put to use as the combatants knock each other around in a room with hanging slabs of meat and cow parts scattered about, human blood mixing with animal blood. It's all very unsanitary.

This film could have skated by on non-stop action, and it rarely stops to take a break for anything else, but Tjahjanto did make sure to include just enough emotional content that you're able to connect with the characters for reasons other than their scrapping abilities. There are heartwarming moments with Reina here and there, we don't want to see Ito or his buddies get hurt, and the film digs into the history between Ito and Uwais's character Arian a bit. Like THE RAID, this is a simple film, but there's something to grasp on to beyond the action.

Mostly, though, it is a gloriously violent bloodbath, and I had a hell of a good time watching it. THE NIGHT COMES FOR US is being released through the Netflix streaming service this Friday, October 19th, and I'm going to be rewatching it on there with some regularity.
 

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