Monday, July 27, 2009

Silat Movie

Merantau.

Okay, so the footage on the trailer looks like a cross between Tony Jaa and Jackie Chan. The star -- Iko Uwais -- is a Silat Tiga Berantai tournament fighter in Jakarta. Plus there is a lot of movie-fu -- because there always is; still, it does have some fun choreography, and that is a kerambit in his hand in the picture ...

Due out later this summer, and I expect I'll go see it. Sorta can't not ...

12 comments:

steve-vh said...

Definitely. Been waiting for this. This trailer is much better than the previous I've seen.

Michael Bourgon said...

Please let it have a plot. I loved Ong Bak, but it and The Protector needed a better script and plot.

Steve Perry said...

Good luck with that in a kung-fu movie.

AF1 said...

Looks pretty cool. Is this the first time silat gets featured prominently in a major film?

Steve Perry said...

Depends on what you call major. There are a lot of Indonesian films in which silat shows up, but they aren't generally available in the U.S. This one appears to be subtitled and in Bahasa, so I dunno how major it'll be considered. Most places in the US, anything in a foreign language with English subtitles tends to be considered, at best, an "art" film, and distribution is apt to be slim and spotty.

I figure it'll show up on DVD pretty quick.

jks9199 said...

Hey! I don't go to movies to READ!

My gawd, movies that you gotta read... next thing you know, they'll be trying to sell me a book that scrolls across the screen or something!

taintmonger said...

How many tall buildings can you jump thanks to silat, Steve? ::chuckle::

From what little I know of silat, it doesn't seem like it would begat exciting movie fights -- much like trying to craft an action film with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo as the main fighting form. But I could very well be wrong.

What works in the streets doesn't necessarily make for exciting cinema. Look at perennial (and ancient) punching bag Gene LeBell beating up action "star" Stephen Seagal. I assume you've heard that tale?

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, I heard about Seagal. What happens when you start to believe your own press. I heard that Don "The Dragon" Wilson also danced him around a little.

Most martial arts that work aren't going to look as good onscreen as movie-fu, which as you know, is an art unto itself. The trailer for Merantau has plenty of that visible, and the behind-the-scenes footage on YouTube shows the fight choreography, which has more of the same. Nature of the medium -- you are playing to a largely uneducated audience, and you have to give them the visuals. You can't stage it realistically for the handful of people who would actually be able to see what is going on. They'd be grinning and going "Yeah!" while most of the audience would be saying, "Huh?"
What just happened?"

There's a short sequence at the opening of my teacher's Bukti Negara vid, unrehearsed, in which he walks into an alley and is jumped by four guys. Nobody knew what anybody else was gonna do, and there's nothing pretty about it. Bap, bap, bap, and guys flying or sprawled every which way.

If you slow it down, you can see it, but it doesn't look real to viewers used to seeing Hong Kong action.

Best we can hope for is that there isn't a lot of wirework and that now and then you'll see a silat move ...

Steve Perry said...

Oh, and I assumed you've seen Mamet's Redbelt? Even though he's a student and very much enamored of BJJ, they still had to go for the wall-climbing-flip at the end. I think that was less a story about the mechanics of the art than it was a character study, and I enjoyed it as such.

taintmonger said...

I have somewhat intentionally avoided most MMA movies. I've heard some good things about Redbelt, and have just now added it to my Netflix queue.

That's amazing your guru would shoot an unrehearsed fight like that. Obviously, he was pleased with the results. I'd love to see that -- especially since Rusty and Toni seemed to enjoy it in Net Force.

My instructor has often said, "Never ad-lib a fight on film." Of course, as a wrestler it's something I became relatively proficient in, but it's a good way to have someone get hurt on set. Put a master with some good-bumping students, though, and you could come up with gold.

Funny you mention wirework, Steve. While taking classes with Benny Urquidez, we dabbled in it using a rudimentary rig. It is so much harder than it looks. Unless you're a 10-year-old gymnast, you'll find yourself flopping front and back on even simple leaps.

Steve Perry said...

I think the Bukti vid used the first take as it happened. Save for a kick at the end they cut in later, because, I guess, they wanted to show a kick.

A couple of guys who drop round here from time to time were on the shoot and one of them allows as how when you see him bounce off the alley floor, there weren't any foam pads down helping him ...

No experience with wirework myself, though I did learn how to do a double-back on the trampoline using a spotter's belt. Essentially a lifter's belt with ropes on each side angled wide, so you could rotate between them. The idea was not to use the support unless you flubbed the trick though.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the Director and the stars in "Merantau" are making a new movie "The Raid"..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlmhMSnVdM&feature=related

M.M