September 26, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Killers (2014)
Not since I Saw the Devil (our review HERE) have we seen an Asian Thriller as brutal and engaging as Killers.

Killers has intrigued us from the start, not only because The Mo Brothers are directing, but because if the movie's connection to Gareth Evans; you know, the guy who wrote and directed the excellent Raid 1 & 2? Well, he's producing this one, and to have all three of these guys teaming up on a movie like this sounds like a recipe for awesomeness to us.

And let us not forget that these three also teamed up to create the best segment in last year's V/H/S/2, Safe Haven.

Even better is the fact that Killers' two lead actors were both in The Raid 2, one of them will be in The Raid 3, and one of them will be in Timo Tjahjanto's next movie, The Night Comes for Us.

It's like a big, violent, dysfunctional family that they've got going over there in Indonesia, and we love every last bit of it.

Taking all of that into consideration, it's fair to say that we had high expectations for Killers. Having now seen Killers, it's fair to say that those expectations were well met.

Sure, this movie may open with a terrified woman tied to a chair, and a guy in a creepy mask beating her to death with a mallet, but let's not rush to judgement here, alright? Maybe this movie is a character study, and maybe that opening scene is an allegory for how unfairly women are treated in the workplace or something, or maybe it's about a Serial Killer who who really likes beating women to death with a mallet. We don't know, but we certainly owe it to ourselves to find out, don't we?

Where does she think she's going? lol
Nomura is a young and handsome Japanese business executive who kills people and uploads videos of his heinous acts to YouTube; with all of the stupid-ass videos on YouTube that manage to get millions of hits, why shouldn't he take his swipe at fame? Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Bayu is a journalist whose life has fallen apart because of his obsession with a corrupt politician. He's an angry, angry man, but at least he's not a Serial Killer. Yet.

This isn't The Raid 3, Bayu, calm down!
While browsing YouTube for Flash Mob videos, Bayu comes across Nomura's creepy murder videos, which prompts him to send a friend request to the man, in hopes of learning all of his secrets. Nomura accepts, and the two begin an online relationship that does neither of them any good. Bayu tries his best to kill, like his new pal Nomura does, only in the name of justice and righteousness... and then Nomura un-friends him when he discovers that Bayu has been uploading his own murder videos, and trying to bite his style.

If you subscribe to his YouTube Channel, Nomura will send you victim hair.
From here on out, things get bad for both Nomura and Bayu, which prompts the two to decide to meet offline; in public place of course, because you never know who a you're talking to in the Internet. Blood and mayhem promptly ensue, followed by even more blood and mayhem. And blood.

Reverse selfie.
We may have painted a light-hearted picture of Killers in the above breakdown, but make no mistake, this is a brutal, disturbing movie to experience. If we had to compare it to something, I suppose that I Saw the Devil would be appropriate, although it's equally appropriate to say that both movies, as similar as they may feel at times, are very different animals.

The thing about this movie that really got us, was how much we actually sympathised with these guys, despite the fact that they were doing nothing but horrendous things to people, for no reason other than to quench the dark fires burning inside themselves. They were different fires, mind you, but at the end of the day, both of these characters viciously murdered people in horrible ways despite their differing motivations... and we still kind of liked them, in spite of it all.

Maybe that has to do with the fact that both Oka Antara (Bayu) and Kazuki Kitamura (Nomura) nailed their roles flawlessly. Kitamura has 100+ movies under his belt at this point in his career, and it's easy to see why; the guy has great screen presence that matches his acting talent, and he made for a perfect "villain" in this one. Antara may not have as many screen credits on his resume, but he was great as Eka in The Raid 2, and was equally so here. Going forward, the two of them can keep starring in anything that Gareth Evans is involved with, and we'd be happy campers.

At least one of them will be starring in The Raid 3, which pleases us greatly.
With Killers, The Mo Brothers have definitely painted a well-rounded picture of what and who these killers are as people, and given them a depth that many movies of this kind seldom do. That is exactly why so many S.Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, et al. Thrillers seem to resonate so well with audiences; depth.

After two films together, we're big fans of Timo Tjahjanto & Kimo Stamboel, and we can't wait to see what they do individually with The Night Comes for Us (Tjahjanto) and One Good Thing (Stamboel.) By the way, both of those movies will feature The Raid's Yayan Ruhian.

Killin' ain't easy... for him.
Killers runs a little too long, and its pacing suffers a bit because of it. We genuinely like longer movies, and in most cases when it comes to good Dramas and Thrillers, we prefer a film to be longer, to allow their stories to properly breathe. In the case of Killers, however, a quick trim of maybe 10 or 15 minutes would make it a near perfect experience.

It's a minor gripe, really, but one that's worth noting.

Why they decided to re-enact this scene from Brokeback Mountain in this movie, we'll never know.
The final act came off a bit contrived, and it felt like it deviated slightly from everything that had preceded it, as far as realism goes. It just felt too expected and neat, like it was a typical Hollywood "wrap everything up in a convenient showdown" kind of thing.

Killers is full of torture and murder of all kinds, and it's most definitely not for the squeamish. It even has a hallway fight scene that was reminiscent of Oldboy, albeit in a darkly humorous way.

Say "cheese!" or maybe "please let me go!"
Nope. *Unless there was a very quick flash of something that I'm forgetting about, which I'm pretty sure there wasn't.

There were plenty of great scenes in Killers, but if we had to pick the one that stood out to us the most, it would have to be the shootout in the car; that scene was just crazy, and it's a perfect example of why this movie worked so well for us.

Becoming a Serial Killer isn't an easy thing. Also, making new friends on the Internet is a dicey game at best.

Nomura had never quite grasped the concept of "taking a bath."
One of the best movies that we've seen in 2014, Killers is a harsh, nasty little look at people, and what drives them to kill. If you're a fan of violent Thrillers like I Saw the Devil, then this movie should suit you perfectly. When Well Go USA releases this movie in the U.S., do yourself a favor and seek it out immediately.


Killers is available now on VOD, and will be released on Blu-ray & DVD on April 7th.

Can we all just agree that Indonesian women are some of the most gorgeous women in the World? Just look at Luna Maya below and tell me that I'm wrong. You can't!

1 comment :

  1. Sounds fantastic. I haven't seen anything from Indonesia since The Rad 2. So I'll definitely be checking this one out. Thanks for the recommendation.