Movie Review : Merantau

December 1, 2010


Madman Entertainment brings us what claims to be “In the spirit of ONG BAK…” and they are more than right. This movie may do for Indonesia and the martial art of silat, what Ong Bak did for Thailand and kick boxing.

Yuda is a skilled practitioner of silat – a very deadly Indonesian martial art. It’s now time for him to make the time-honoured pilgrimage from his farming village to the bustling city of Jakarta – a journey known as “Merantau”, where he is thrust into the real world with bad people getting away with crime and people who do not care about lives.


Merantau and Ong Bak have many things in common. They both promote their countries martial art, without any CGI or wire work, they both have fast paced action sequences, and for Merantau, even the male protagonist of this movie looks like Tony Jaa.

This movie is about a right of passage that many Indonesian men go through where they go to a big city to find work and learn about the outside world. This right of passage is called Merantau (where the title takes it’s name).


This Merantau focuses on Yuda, a country boy who works in the family farm goes to Jakarta hoping to teach the deadly art of silat, on his journey a chance encounter in the city leads Yuda to save Astri and her younger brother from a human trafficking ring specializing in sex slavery. The leader of the gang now seeks bloody retribution. With the gang chasing their every step and with escape seemingly beyond their grasp, Yuda has no choice but to face his attackers.


A lot of hard work went into making this film as you will find out watching the special features as one scene took 56 takes just to get it right. The cinematography is a lot like a side scrolling videogame where the action follows Yuda kicking ass trying to save the damsel in distress Astri. When the camera isn’t on Yuda it feels like a cut scene that shows the audience how evil the bad guys are and their frustration towards Yuda.


The sound and music for this is very basic due to its low budget, it has a basic score that does the job musically and it does well as it matches pasce with the action and climaxes when the scene ends with a finishing move. The sound effects are kept simple with limbs and skulls crashing into objects, and breaking furniture,which is all the audience needs as it is what you expect to hear in a fight scene.


Movies like Merantau and Ong Bak are special due to the low budgets, which means they makers need to captivate the audience with a good storyline and action that has no CGI, wire work, or stunt doubles simply because they can’t afford it, and the work that results from it is this highly choreographed work of action that just goes like a rollercoaster.

View the trailer below:

I was sceptical at first then I watched it and my views changed. I dare say it was better than Ong Bak in some ways as it has more character development and I think it has more depth due to the Welsh writer and director G.H Evans who has a passion for martial arts films.

It is highly recommended you guys buy a copy as it is a must for anyone who likes a good martial arts flick.

Get your copy here at Madman Entertainment

FATKIDS RATING: 8 out of 10

words by Kevin Monster

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