The Night Comes For Us is a martial arts slasher flick, as flawed as the latest Halloween film currently blowing up the box office yet more worth your time for the audacious fight choreography and creative gore that is quite nearly relentless throughout its two-hour runtime. I’ve never seen The Raid, a cinema sin I know, but if this is a taste of Night’s forebear, then there’s absolutely no argument now that Indonesia is the new hot spot for martial arts cinema. As a not-so-innocent hero and not-so-evil villain, Raid alum Joe Taslim and Iko Uwaise are real-life superheroes, clearly skilled in all forms of hand-to-hand combat, so skilled that you sit there wondering why in the world they chose acting over combat sports. Taslim’s protagonist, a former elite Triad-turned-traitor, slices his way through a seemingly never-ending series of anonymous bad guys and highly-skilled hired hands, all for his last best hope for redemption: a little girl they want dead. His Ito is Michael Meyers with a machete and brutal fists, feet, elbows, and knees, except he’s the good guy, sort of. It’s hard to say when he’s disemboweling human beings like he’s got a kick for it. Classic tropes of loyalty and brotherhood abound, sometimes to surprising effect. Thank Uwaise for that, an antagonist you almost want to root for, but that might be the baby face trying to convince us. Glaring peeves like a lead performance completely dubbed (for seemingly no reason) or a convoluted plot notwithstanding, this is the best fight movie in a decade. That’s not saying much given the scarce competition of late, however, the bone-crunching, throat-slashing, blood-spurting good time had here is so temporarily enthralling that it’s almost unnecessary to be schooled in the recent history of this genre. You just know it when you see it.
P.S. Julie Estelle steals the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRyD7tIysrE