A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Night Comes for Us is a 2018 Indonesian martial arts movie that's extremely violent. Besides all the kicking and punching, there are epic battle scenes involving machetes, machine guns, broken bottles, grappling hooks, and mirror shards, among other objects that happen to be within arm's reach. Bloody and gory scenes include characters shot point-blank in the face, faces sliced with knives, a hook to the genitals, a pinky finger cut off in a fight scene, a sword stabbed through a throat, entrails exposed, and characters hung on meat hooks. It's worth noting that much of this violence is witnessed by a young girl who sees her family getting shot and killed while trying to escape the bad guys; she later takes part and stabs one of these bad guys, but often looks completely traumatized by what's happening. Frequent profanity includes regular use of "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t." Cocaine use and cigarette smoking are seen. Two of the female antagonists kiss seductively in one scene; other male antagonists make joking references about the two being lesbians. Overall, the violence is gratuitous, far beyond the violence of a typical martial arts movie, and more at the level of gory horror movies.
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What's the story?
In THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, Ito is a member of Six Seas, an elite group given carte blanche to protect the drug smuggling operations of the South East Asian Triad in the Golden Triangle. When it's discovered that a village has been skimming some of the Triad's money, Ito and his men set fire to the village and kill everyone who lives there. The last survivor is Reina, a young girl who has just watched her family get killed. Ito's men are about to kill Reina, but before they do that, Ito turns his guns on them. Injured during the battle, he takes Reina to his ex-girlfriend, who tries taking care of Reina as Ito tends to his wounds. Meanwhile, Ito's brother Arian has discovered that Ito has gone rogue, and that he must kill Ito. As the word spreads that Ito must die, Ito is helped by Fatih, Wisnu, and Bobby, who must all do battle with an army of bad guys and women who will stop at nothing to kill them. Ito must find a way to stay alive, save Reina, and get them both to safety and a new life, and Arian must choose which side he is on.
Is it any good?
This is an exercise in gratuitous violence and staggering self-indulgence. The Night Comes for Us is little more than a flimsy vehicle employed to deliver over-the-top violence, blood, and gore that is more the province of horror movies than martial arts films. There's so much violence, in fact, that it's difficult to keep track of (or even care about) what's going on with the overall story. While the frenzied action and bloodthirsty choreography is, at times, impressive, there's so much of it that the excess starts to become tedious.
In one scene, one of the female antagonists -- a gothic lesbian with apparent psychopathic tendencies -- enters a room, sees a crucifix hanging on the wall, and turns the cross upside-down. There's really no reason to do this except for the sheer self-indulgence of doing it, as it doesn't tell us anything we haven't already figured out about the character, doesn't move the story, and is little more than the tritest of clichéd symbolism. That brief moment speaks volumes about the entire movie and the apparent rationale behind it: If something has even the smallest possibility of being visually shocking to someone, then by all means do it, no matter how little it has to do with anything. Even those who might champion such an aesthetic are likely to grow tired of such an approach.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in movies. Did the graphic violence seem important to the story of The Night Comes for Us, or did it seem to become more of the source of the entertainment than the story itself?
Why do you think that there's an appeal for violent movies? Do you think such movies are a healthy outlet and release, or are violent movies like these liable to be imitated by more impressionable viewers?
How does the violence in this movie compare to that of other martial arts movies, or even horror movies?
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