Arts, Features

REVIEW: Netflix’s ‘The Night Comes for Us’ highlights exciting action scenes at cost of plot

Joe Taslim stars in Netflix’s new film “The Night Comes For Us.” COURTESY OF ERIEKN JURAGAN/ NETFLIX

Standards seem to have gone up for action movies in recent years. From “Mad Max: Fury Road” to the “John Wick” series, the genre has been continuously pumping out thrilling stories in an incredibly well-done spectacle.

“The Raid: Redemption” and “The Raid 2” were both critically acclaimed for their breathtaking action, with the stunt work and detailed choreography being in a whole league of its own.

Although it has flown fairly far under the radar in terms of “buzz” and reviews, “The Night Comes for Us” will undoubtedly please anyone looking for two hours of a relentless, brutal Adrenaline rush.

The plot of this film is fairly simple — a notoriously violent criminal has a change of heart when he is ordered to execute a child. The two of them go on the run, with legions of bloodthirsty henchmen always on their trail, in an intense fight for survival.

There is one thing that could be immediately said about this film: people who enjoyed “The Raid: Redemption” are going to also enjoy this film — its hyper-violent style obviously took heavy influence from those movies, and it even features the same two main actors.

As one could probably guess, the action is the star of the show here and is most certainly not something for the faint of heart. It seemed the director was trying to challenge himself by topping the level of brutality and gore in every confrontation. But what keeps the movie from simply being unwatchable is the way that this action is filmed.

A common pitfall of the action genre is using quick, choppy cuts and “shaky cam” to mask poor choreography and stunt work. That is not the case here: every fight scene is characterized by long, unbroken shots that feel authentic in the best way possible.

Whenever there is a possibility to show off the painstaking amount of work that was put into training the actors and making their fights feel real, the film does so. This is easily one of the most visually impressive works to come out of the action movie renaissance that is still unfolding.

“The Night Comes for Us” takes risks and switches up the setting in a creative manner, resulting in some absolutely breathtaking sequences. Two hours of action could easily become repetitive and even boring after a while, but by constantly introducing new environments and challenges to the characters, it feels perfectly paced.

That is, in fact, the most impressive achievement of this movie — that it manages to feel so brisk and well-paced. There are only a few moments where things slow down at all, and this is usually just to give the audience a respite from the insane carnage they have witnessed.

The writing and acting is nothing amazing, but not bad either. The script seems to be written as an excuse for the action and would not hold up so well on its own, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong about it, either.

However, action is prioritized over story, so attempts to create emotional moments don’t land so well. Viewers may struggle to feel deeply invested in the humanity of a character when they just witnessed him tear through a room full of bad guys. These moments are rare, but they are something of an annoyance.

The bottom line is that fans of “Mad Max,” “John Wick,” “The Raid” and other standout action features should be sure to check out “The Night Comes for Us.” While it clocks in at about two hours in length, it never feels boring or stretched out. When the movie ends, it feels like a rollercoaster has come to a stop, and you are left to process the insanity you have just witnessed.

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