Netflix's 'Big Four' is racking up millions of views, but are you watching?

This action comedy is one big party, and you're invited!

For many moviegoers, the phrase "American remake of Train to Busan" is off-putting. Who can beat this film's blend of horror, humor and pathos? Well, there is one guy, Timo Tjahjanto - they actually hired him! The Indonesian filmmaker made an impassioned call for an open mind on Twitter, but for many other moviegoers, it wasn't necessary. With his contributions to the V/H/S franchise, the horror veteran sits alongside Ti West and Gareth Evans; his 2018 film Night Falls is truly the Raid 3 we've been dreaming about. This Netflix martial arts flick is so violent that it rivals the pain threshold of extreme South Korean flicks like I Saw the Devil and Mr. Sympathy and Vengeance. In December 2022, Netflix launches another Tjahjanto epic, The Big Four, which hit the top 10 in 53 countries, including the US. Though more of an action comedy, it mixes his trademark gore with slapstick, and even some heartfelt drama.

The four in the title are assassins, introduced in the film by liberating the orphanage from organ harvesters. This kind of dirty work requires John Wick-style marksmanship, taking bombs out of men's asses, and maybe just a little rage. The Assassins themselves were foster children, adopted by a well-meaning man named Petrus (Budi Ros). It doesn't matter how the assassination affects their upbringing, and the film's flexible tone raises doubts. The ass bomb vaporizes a crowd in its fiery explosion, and by the end of the opening sequence, there's enough vomit and blood to put viewers in a cartoon world. The Big 4 shoots slow-motion hero shots in 70s funk style, coming out of the carnage, as if Grindhouse movies have finally come to Southeast Asia, and Tjahjanto has notes. First off, this cartoon may be silly, but it's not farce. It's the kind of movie that ends with a theme song that reintroduces all the characters, and their names are so important they serve as lyrics.

The Big 4 Is a True Night at the Movies

If anything, The Big Four is reminiscent of an old tradition of American blockbusters, before the competition multiplied and a film was a complete experience. Laughter and awe, even poignancy, have no boundaries that allow modern marketing to niche audiences. In this way, Indonesia feels like a young film industry, even though it is as old as other countries. with Netflix has backed the work of filmmakers like Timo Tjahjanto and Joko Anwar, with the money and creative freedom to deliver both bold, thrilling plots and the potential for growing pains. Maybe our nights and the Big Four are long runs, but Tjahjanto is careful to build a world for these stories. People don't watch Jaws just because of Shark Attack, but they do watch Godzilla vs Kong for everything the title suggests and absolutely nothing else. It's arguably inefficient, and it probably won't stand up to a climbing budget, but there's a welcome sense of establishment among the Big Four. These characters have relationships, backstories, and desires, all of which are conveyed before the introduction of "Lucifer's Fart."

In the first 30 minutes, we witness brains splattered on the wall and a completely broken woman crying for her dead father. Sounds like whiplash, ranging from nonsensical to real drama, based on the best performance from each job. In this case, it's Putri Marino as police officer Dina, who has just discovered Petrus' body. Tina is Petrus' biological daughter, and their relationship has always been complicated. He is often late or misses important events altogether Her life as he secretly watches over his adopted homeless family. As Dina investigates his death, she encounters this secret family - the Four - on the sun-drenched island of Bersi. There is a considerable cultural difference between Dina and these dumb assassins led by big brother Topan (Abimana Aryasatya). Where she's straight and serious, we find the Big Four retired to jobs befitting their silliness, notably Alpha (Lutesha's "Sunset Mermaid" show). Yet there is an unshakable moral that binds them all, and they are thrown together when Dina is targeted by a ruthless gang.

The Big 4 Finds Comedy in the Unlikeliest Places

The gang can be ruthless, but sometimes they use "traffic" to explain being late. Their vengeful leader is Antonio Sandoval (Martino Rio), who tries to look cool, but his sunglasses and salsa dance hide an unquenchable rage. A good villain is hard because character arcs often lean toward sympathy, which can be inappropriate. If the bad guys are doomed, why not make the process fun? Sandoval's efforts were thwarted by Dina and the Big 4, who gradually lost his cool, while Marthino Lio caught the ego and hysteria. its A film where comedy tends to work, despite its predictability. In an extended action climax, Alpha throws a fist challenge at a bazooka-wielding female henchman (Michelle Taharia) in typically manly gesture, and is instantly beaten. In particular, the Big Four also capture Jackie Chan's spirit when the punchline literally means fist. In one memorable scene, Toppan fights off two assassins while trying to distract Dina.

In another painting, Topan fights an evenly matched opponent, matched by Kensuke Sonomura's fast pace. In fact, The Big 4 was choreographed by Muhammad Irfan, but it feels like a knowing, even winking tribute. Of course, the movies described here must sound like a collage of influences so far. However, the Big Four also incorporated their directorial expertise, especially cinematic violence. Tjahjanto manages wide open spaces with dozens of combatants, and the scenes are easy to follow and full of splash. But what's refreshing about the splatter is that, despite the bodily fluids, it's never gross. In his films, he expresses a disinterest in the violence against women that characterizes shock masters like Takashi Miike. part of world building The egalitarianism of "The Big Four" is no doubt aided by co-author Johanna Vatimena. Neither Dina nor Alpha nor that badass henchman felt like it was a boys-only club. If that disappoints, refer instead to the rest of the action pantheon.

Unlike the films of John Wick or Jackie Chan or Takashi Miike, The Big Four is proudly an Indonesian film. The last genre of this multi-hyphenate is "tourist advertising" because although the island of Bersi is fictional, Tjahjanto realizes it with stunning color and beauty. Filming in Bali and Timor, the director wanted to showcase the country's islands in one location, in addition to what he called the "urban decay" of Jakarta. Overall, this is a vision of an Indonesia — and perhaps greater Southeast Asia — that doesn’t fit Western stereotypes. People here go fishing, work on their cars, and live their lives. The violence is so great that it comes from crazy minds, not postcolonial commentary. There are many more Indonesian films, and the industry is growing steadily, just like South Korea in the early 2000s. The biggest stars of tomorrow in Asian cinema may have arrived, and The Big 4 is the perfect introduction.

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