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Top 12 Indonesian Action Movies That are not The Raid

The Raid arguably can be named the best Indonesian action movie with its intense action and compact yet compelling story. Eventually, Indonesian cinema became a home for dozens of great action movies. These are the best Indonesian action movies you may have never heard of.

1. Si Pitung (1970)

  • Cast: Nawi Ismail
  • Director: Dicky Zulkarnaen, Paula Rumokoy, Sandy Suwardi
  • Runtime: 131 minutes

The Indonesian archipelago is rich with various figures and stories. One of them is Si Pitung, an executioner who rose to rebel against Dutch colonization. Adapted into several movies, the first Si Pitung movie that captivated the whole country was directed by Nawi Ismail and starred Dicky Zulkarnaen.

Si Pitung is a fictional character known as a master of Indonesian traditional martial arts, Betawi Silat. He was famous for facing the landlord's hired henchmen, distributing the loot to the villagers, and resisting the Dutch colonists.

2. Ken Arok – Ken Dedes (1983)

  • Cast: George Rudy, Eva Arnaz, Advent Bangun
  • Director: Djun Saptohadi
  • Runtime: 105 minutes

Ken Arok and Ken Dedes are part of the story of folk tales in Indonesia in the 13th century. The film version was released in 1983 and starred prominent Indonesian actors George Rudy, Eva Arnaz, and Advent Bangun.

The story is adapted from Pararaton or Kakawin Kenhangrok, a book of Middle Javanese Literature in the form of a 32-page manuscript consisting of 1126 lines. The contents are the history of the kings of Singhasari and Majapahit. The story begins with how Ken Arok became king of Singasari in 1222.

The films focused on Ken Arok, who, after being abandoned as a baby by his parents, was raised by criminals, and he grew up to be a fugitive from the law. When his military career began to rise, he fell in love with the wife of the regent "Akuwe" Tunggul Ametung, named Ken Dedes.

3. Satria Bergitar (1984)

  • Cast: Rhoma Irama, Ricca Rachim, Mathias Muchus
  • Director: Nurhadie Irawan
  • Runtime: 162 minutes

In Indonesia, the 80s is the time of Dangdut, one of its traditional music. And Rhoma Irama, an Indonesian Dangdut legend, rose to stardom after starring in one of the most memorable vintage movies, Satria Bergitar, among many others movies.

Rhoma, played as a horse-riding traveler with a guitar, comes to a land named Antioch Gaza. After showing his capability on a battlefield, he converted the King, Raja Wasit, and his daughter/the princess, Putri Tirza. But their enemy, Abu Garin, captured the princess. Rhoma, disguised as a group of musicians, sneaked into their kingdom to free the princess. 

This film focuses on its action and music. Already having some albums under his name, Rhoma sang the soundtrack. Satria Bergitar is the first Indonesian movie that used Dolby Stereo when released in 1984.

4. Saur Sepuh (1989)

  • Cast: Fendy Pradana, Murti Sari Dewi, Elly Ermawati
  • Director: Imam Tantowi
  • Runtime: 90 minutes

Saur Sepuh is an original work by Niki Kosasih that first appeared as a radio drama in the early 1980s. It tells the story of the journey of a mighty warrior named Brama Kumbara, who later became king in the southern Java region called Madangkara.

After the success of the radio version, Kanta Indah Film adapted Saur Sepuh into several film series. Five movies of Saur Sepuh were released in 1983-1992, with Fendy Pradana playing Brama Kumbara in the first two films. The three films followed had Laksmini as the main protagonist. 

5. Merantau (2009)

  • Cast: Iko Uwais, Alex Abbad, Sisca Jessica
  • Director: Gareth Evans
  • Runtime: 135 minutes

Before becoming a Hollywood star, Iko Uwais started his leading career as the protagonist of Merantau. He played Yuda, a martial artist who journeyed to a big city and met with siblings who became the victims of child trafficking.

Merantau shows Uwai's fast and agile moves; some compared it to Ong Bak, which has a similar plot format and action. This movie starts his career as one of the best Indonesian action stars to date. The fight choreography mainly uses Silat, one of the Indonesian martial arts from West Sumatra.

Gareth Evans began his directorial career in Indonesia after releasing Footsteps (2006) by producing a documentary about Silat entitled Mystic Arts of Indonesia: Pencak Silat (2008). This film begins their collaboration before the two meet again in The Raid.

6. 3: Alif, Lam, Mim (2015)

  • Cast: Cornelio Sunny, Abimana Aryasatya, Agus Kuncoro
  • Director: Anggy Umbara
  • Runtime: 123 minutes

It is one of the most controversial movies released in Indonesia. 3: Alif, Lam, Mim breathe fresh air into Indonesian cinema since only a few science fiction genres have been released in years. It tells the story of three friends trapped in a political conflict between nationalists and religious people; it raises sensitive issues, resulting in a ban on showing the film on national television.

The narrative feels authentic to the point that the film is often linked to various political events in Indonesia. However, in terms of action, this CGI-filled film offers interesting fights to enjoy, especially for fans of action films. 

7. Headshot (2017)

  • Cast: Iko Uwais, Chelsea Islan, Julie Estelle
  • Director: The Mo Brothers
  • Runtime: 112 minutes

Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel join forces as The Mo Brothers, directing Headshot with Iko Uwais on his Hollywood return after starring Razoo Qin-Fee in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Headshot became the fifth and last collaboration of The Mo Brothers.

Headshot tells a story about Dr. Alin (Chelsea Islan), who found Ishmael, whose identity and origin are unknown. He got the name Ishmael from the Moby-Dick novel that Alin was reading. When his memory returns, he has to face a drug kingpin and his rival gang.

The plot could be more captivating, but the action is the highlight of this film. It is fast, full of graphic violence, bloody, and fascinating in every action sequence. Some are referencing it with The Raid, but Headshot shone by its own merits.

8. The Night Comes for Us (2018)

  • Cast: Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Zack Lee
  • Director: Timo Tjahjanto
  • Runtime: 121 minutes

Timo Tjahjanto and Iko Uwais are back to collaborate in The Night Comes for Us. First released as a screenplay and adapted into a graphic novel, Iko starred as Arian, who emerged as the last boss of this movie. Meanwhile, Ito (Joe Taslim) is a protagonist stuck in a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family.

The action is brutal, the story is convincing, and the last act is full of blood. The plot is good, but the action is on another level. It is one of the best Indonesian action movies, and its choreography is as good as Hollywood movies. You can see a lot of weapons being used to create great sequences. 

9. Gundala (2019)

  • Cast: Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae
  • Director: Joko Anwar
  • Runtime: 123 minutes

Gundala is anticipated to start the superhero movie fever in Indonesia through the Bumi Langit Cinematic Universe (BCU). Even though this film received a good response in cinemas, the next movie from BCU failed to meet the expectations, resulting in the BCU plan failing to shine.

Gundala tells the story of Sancaka, a child who has the power of Gundala, or lightning in Javanese, after being struck by lightning. He uses his powers to fight crime until he has to face a cruel mafia named Pengkor, a corrupt legislature member.

Gundala is a comic character by Harya Suraminata, which was first released in 1969 and received its first movie adaptation in 1981. This latest adaptation by Joko Anwar relies on compact action scenes wrapped in minimalist CGI with political subtext.

10. Foxtrot Six (2019)

  • Cast: Oka Antara, Chicco Jerikho, Rio Dewanto
  • Director: Randy Korompis
  • Runtime: 114 minutes

Foxtrot Six is an ambitious science fiction plus action film with Randy Korompis in his directorial debut. The production reached IDR 70 billion (around USD 4.3 million), considered the most significant budget spent for an Indonesian action movie when it was released.

Set in 2030, when Indonesia is on the verge of destruction due to the tyranny of the elected president, this film tells the story of Angga, a former Indonesian marine who a rebel group recruits to save the country.

A row of A-list Indonesian actors starred in Foxtrot Six.  For an action film, the storyline is still rushed in introducing the characters. On the other hand, Foxtrot Six is a complete action film, brutal and full of blood, with well-choreographed fights and an exploration of the emotional side that ignites nationalism.

11. Preman (2021) 

  • Cast: Khiva Iskak, Muzakki Ramdhan, Kiki Narendra
  • Director: Randolph Zaini
  • Runtime: 92 minutes

Also entitled Preman: Silent Fury, it screened virtually at the Seattle International Film Festival 2021. It received positive Indonesian movie critics' responses and won two categories at the Indonesian Film Festival 2021 (Best Visual Effect and Best Makeup).

It tells the story of Sandi, a deaf thug who works for a gang under the guise of a non-profit organization led by Guru. He ran away after his son, Pandu, witnessed Guru committing murder. They both have to survive the wrath of Guru and his gang.

This film raises social issues about justice and the social life of the lower class oppressed by the corrupt mafia, including highlighting stories about people with disabilities and the emotional relationship between father and son.

12. Qodrat (2022)

  • Cast: Vino G. Bastian, Marsha Timothy, Keanu Azka
  • Director: Charles Ghozali
  • Runtime: 102 minutes

When Indonesian cinemas are saturated with supernatural and horror movies, Qodrat shows the new market where action meets horror in movies can deliver new experiences.

Vino G. Bastian played Ustad Qodrat, a spiritual guru who failed to help his child, who was possessed by a demon. He encounters a new case of possession of a kid who bears the same name as his children. 

Directed by Charles Ghozali, there is a lot of everything going on in this movie. It has emotions, action, jump scares, and exorcism to get you through the movie. The cinematography gives the vibes of perfectly made horror movies and narrates an Islamic culture in Indonesia.

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