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Preman: Silent Fury (2022) – Review

November 17, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – C+ – Preman: Silent Fury is a fun low-budget Indonesian action film that’s at its best when it focuses on familial relationships and face smashing. Director Randolph Zaini clearly pulls from Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, and The Boondock Saints, and this is when the film loses its way as it unnecessarily leans into stylish dialogue and action that don’t mesh well with the core story. 

The best and worst thing about Preman: Silent Fury is that it defies expectations. On the surface, the story is about a deaf Indonesian preman (AKA a member of an Indonesian organized gang, encompassing street level criminals up through crime bosses) named Sandi (Khiva Iskak) fighting for his life as he struggles to protect his kid from a psychotic hitman/barber and a gang of criminals who want him dead. Much of the advertising revolves around Sandi’s usage of a monkey fist/slungshot (a type of knot that’s tied to the end of rope to give it weight), which bashes the skulls of dozens of opponents who attempt to kill Sandi and his son Pandu. Why is he being hunted? As a member of a group of preman, he runs afoul of his bosses when he refuses to kill a local sage Haji (Egy Fedly) who stands in the way of the redevelopment of his town. After a bloody skirmish, Sandi and Pandu go on the run, and find themselves being hunted by an eclectic hitman named Ramon, who runs a highbrow salon when he isn’t cutting people into bloody bits with his ultra-sharp scissors. 

As I mentioned earlier, Preman: Silent Fury is at its best when it focuses on the father/son relationship, and when it lets Sandi unleash havoc on Indonesian stuntmen. There’s a fun fight between Sandi and Ramon inside a cramped home that features scissors being used in ways I never thought I’d see. It’s a creative brawl that puts Sandi on the defensive as Ramon’s scissors cut through his rope weapon, and forces him to endure a painful amount of cuts that hurt to watch. 

Preman: Silent Fury loses its way when it leans into unexpected and stylish distractions that grind the film to a halt. Whether it’s a conversation straight out of a 1990’s Pulp Fiction-wannabe movie, or a brawl involving Sandi battling people in animal suits, these stylish moments don’t feel organic and instead make you think of other movies. The biggest offending moment is when Ramon goes full Willem Dafe (from The Boondock Saints), and recreates a murder scene in his head. These moments make the film more complicated and take away from an interesting story about a deaf Indonesian gangster hitting people with a deadly weapon. 

In the end, director Randolph Zaini has created a unique and interesting action film that features inspired production design, several solid action scenes, and memorable characters. Also, the on-location shoot gives the film an authentic vibe that greatly aids it. 

If this sounds interesting, make sure to watch the movie on Hi-Yah!, and then check out all the other fun films that the streaming service offers.

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