After the disappointing results of “Polar”, and having been excited for a good gory action movie, I decided to scan my long list for anything that would match that description, and then I stumbled upon it: “The night comes for us” starring the guys who worked on “The Raid” and “The Raid 2”, two of the best action movies to come out in recent times. Obviously, I had forgotten this had come out and decided to watch it, hoping it would quench my thirst for gory and impressively choreographed fight scenes; it did not disappoint!
“The night comes for us” is just one of those movies I have massive respect for; in an age where action movies take themselves too seriously, try to set up lore and a purpose for their existence (and hopefully for a sequel), this movie’s desire and sole focus is on delivering on one core premise: Tons of gory action scenes. There’s no unnecessary and boring narrative about their crazy world, no needless character development, no villains with ludicrously convoluted plans to set up a climactic finale; this is simply a Triad executioner who decides to save a life and has to go on the run from the forces who wish to silence him and the little girl he has saved. There is a set up for this, there are breaks from the action to explain his motivations better and how he ended up with this life, but they are not unwelcome; they are a break from the frenetic and intense action that makes up the core of this movie. You don’t learn to care about the characters, you are not taken through a maze of twists and turns that complicate matters; you are simply shown why this imperfect and asshole protagonist made terrible decisions, and that’s pretty much it. As soon as the opening titles are done, you’re shown some information, which sets up the conflict and story, and then the movie is already knee deep in gore and expertly shot action sequences.
That’s why you should watch this movie; if you’re intrigued by the idea of a runaway assassin and want to watch a movie that explores that alongside action sequences, just go watch the Bourne movies. “The night comes for us” is a different beast; it likes its characters and treats them with respect–which is why they barely feature as characters; instead, it treats them as different archetypes of action movie characters: Ito (the protagonist) is easily aggravated and fights like an anime character (a lot of intense yelling and cool moves); Arian (Iko Uwais) is calm and a kick-ass fighter; you also have the likeable characters (Fatih), the crazy characters (Bobby and the lesbian Triad assassins). Mix all of these characters together, and then provide an easy to follow excuse for them to fight alongside dozens of extras, alongside a cargo full of fake blood and guts, and you get gory heaven! The action and fight sequences in this movie are all intense, masterfully choreographed, awkwardly gory (seriously don’t watch this on an empty stomach, because you will lose your appetite!), and adrenaline-filled. Similarly to “The Raid”, these sequence come fast, with only short breaks, but unlike “The Raid” the focus is not on longer, uncut scenes, but rather on cool-looking, violent finishers; this movie is basically what “Mortal Kombat: The movie” should have been, but without the killer soundtrack. That’s not to say that this movie is cut to bits, but it is to say that it’s more interested in finding the best way to visually represent the brutality of those scenes, rather than the skill it took to make them; sometimes that’s through one-take scenes, sometimes that’s through multiple takes from different angles—what matters is that the end result is extremely fun to watch.
It would have been more fun, had the movie not stumbled on a few key issues; mainly, the extras are horrible. When a movie starts showing a blood bath with dozens of people dying in gruesome and inventive ways, it’s not a good sign if you start laughing at the guy who still shakes 10 seconds after the punches stopped coming in, or the guy who gets stabbed in awkward places with a makeshift weapon and his facial expression best resembles someone who had a long night in the toilet; the main actors are fine—I would expect nothing less from Joe Taslim and Uko Uwais—but I wish the extras would have been directed better to provide more believable expressions (or more appropriate at the very least). My second issue is probably not going to bother many people (and it’s fairly excusable), but I really wished the practical effects were better; fake blood looks alright, but anything else (from clearly red smoke instead of gunshot wounds, to obviously plastic guts) is cheap-looking; normally that’s something you can forgive from a movie that probably was made on a shoe-string budget, but those effects are the focus of most scenes and it doesn’t spoil the movie, it just makes it less enjoyable.
Nonetheless, “The night comes for us” is a movie I enjoyed very much and would surely re-watch with some friends and some beer. It exists for action-movie junkies, it is well-aware of what we want from that movie, and is more that capable of delivering that; a few missteps aside, if you think that action movies have becoming boring and predictable lately, this is one of those movies I would point you towards and say “not all of them!”.