Hyperviolent. Hyperactive. Hyperbolic.
Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes For Us is a visceral mashup of martial arts and gore that is the clear answer to the question “What if The Raid movies had as much blood as the Crazy 88 fight from Kill Bill?” It is frenetic in its pacing only taking breaks to give bits of a story that relies heavily on existing action movie tropes. But you don’t watch a film like this for its plot. You watch it in order to gawk at the action, laugh at the gore, and turn to the person next to you and say “holy $%*#!”
The comparisons to Gareth Evans’ The Raid franchise are unavoidable. Tjahjanto directs his action scenes in a manner that lands somewhere between being a complete Evans knockoff and “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Furthering the comparisons are the faces that anyone familiar with The Raid films will recognize. This film stars Joe Taslim (The Raid: Redemption), Iko Uwais (Both Raid films), and several other actors that appeared in The Raid 2: Berandal. Either of these alone would be enough to see the resemblance between the films, but when put together, it gives the impression that anyone still holding out hope for The Raid 3 probably just got the closest film you will ever get to that.
For all of the similarities though, The Night Comes For Us is simply not on the same level as either of The Raid films. Gareth Evans proved to have an almost incomparable eye for the ability to combine cinematography with the kinetic brutality of martial arts. Both Raid films reshaped an entire genre from a filmmaking standpoint. By comparison, Tjahjanto’s choreography feels slower and less fluid. It tries to mask this by distracting the audience with ultra-brutality and, for the most part, it works. But this sleight of hand doesn’t help build any tension despite a seemingly non-stop string of fights. The Raid was a violent action film, but it was grounded. By contrast, The Night Comes For Us is so aggressively exaggerated that it is hard to tell when any of the characters are in danger.
Anyone that watches The Night Comes For Us will most likely not put a lot of stock in its flaws — and rightfully so. It is an action movie masquerading as a gore-fest. Or perhaps it is a gore-fest masquerading as an action movie. Either way, it is an insane, should-be-X-rated bloodbath of epic proportions that basks in its own absurdity and dares you to watch without looking away or getting squeamish.