"The Night Comes For Us" (2018) Review
There are going to be a lot of comparisons to The Raid films in this review.
It’s literally an unavoidable comparison, and not just because Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and Julie Estelle are in The Night Comes For Us, but that’s certainly a factor. It’s that the director of The Night Comes For Us is Timo Tjahjanto, a man that’s worked with the director of The Raid films, Gareth Evans, on several occasions. They even co-directed a segment of the horror anthology film V/H/S/2, the segment in question being “Safe Haven.” These are two directors that working on similar lines, sometimes even producing each other’s films.
But if The Night Comes For Us makes one thing clear, it’s that Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans have very different visions for what these martial arts films should look like. Evans’ pair of The Raid films have a dark and serious tone to them, with the first film playing like a gritty police procedural gone wrong and the second film acting as a gangland epic with hand-to-hand combat.
The Night Comes For Us still uses the Asian criminal underworld as its backdrop, but has a wildly different tone then The Raid movies. It has its serious moments, but as soon as the first fight happens in The Night Comes For Us, a hyper-violent assault in the backroom of a dance club, the tonal difference is immediate.
This film skews in a darkly comic direction, with almost every single death being beyond brutal. I’m going to try and not refer too much to The Raid movies from this point forward, but I have to say this right now:
The Night Comes For Us is bloodier and nastier than The Raid films. Period.
For fans of The Raid films, that might seem unbelievable, but once a major fight happens in an actual butcher shop, you’ll realize just what kind of monster you’re dealing with. This is not a film for the squeamish, and by the time a literal grenade goes off and there’s bits of people on the ground as our hero stumbles from the wreckage, you’d think the movie couldn’t get bloodier.
Except that the movie is just barely at the halfway point when that happens.
The story is pretty minimal here, and slightly to the detriment of the film itself, but it gets the job done. Ito (Joe Taslim) is one of the top enforcers of The Triad, but betrays them to save a little girl. The Triad immediately dispatches foes to take him out along with the girl, from low-level thugs brandishing machetes and machine guns all the way to sadistic assassins. But caught in the mix is Arian (Iko Uwais), one of Ito’s best friends who is under orders from The Triad to kill Ito.
The film does not take long to get going, and once the action starts during the first act it literally does not stop until the end of the second act, takes a brief break, and goes right back into a bone crunching third act that has not one, but three of the most over-the-top fights I have ever seen in a movie. The inevitable showdown between Ito and Arian is the craziest of the three, turning the two men into Looney Tunes filled with blood to spill as they mercilessly beat the shit out of each other.
I really want to take this paragraph to emphasize how much gore is in this movie. It doesn’t quite hit the levels of blood that were in the Evil Dead remake in 2013, but the number of squibs that go off in this movie spurting blood from the jugular goes into the double digits before the halfway point is up. I’m used to bone breaks in movies like this, but the number of people that keep trying to fight while bleeding out pushes the film into a whole different reality.
This is the last time I’ll invoke The Raid comparison (I promise), but that’s where the films really do diverge. I prefer the grittiness of The Raid films and the more serious attempt at character building that was achieved there, but The Night Comes For Us makes up for its narrative investment by constantly topping itself with garish violence. I hold The Raid movies up as my favorite modern action films, and if you’re wondering where The Night Comes For Us ranks, I’d honestly put it right up there with The Raid films. Again, I don’t think The Night Comes For Us tops The Raid movies, but its investment into borderline cartoon violence brings it right up there.
That’s all to say that The Night Comes For Us is one of the most brutal films you can watch in 2018. Speaking of watching it, I managed to make it into a screening of the film at Fantastic Fest (my first film I’ve ever seen during the event, and I have to say, I picked a hell of a first movie), but anyone reading this will be able to watch the movie on Netflix on October 19th and you should absolutely watch it as soon as its available on the platform.
Especially if you’ve ever wanted to see a man get murdered by a pool ball.