THE BIG 4 is the new one from Indonesian writer-director Timo Tjahjanto, who gave us THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, easily one of the best action movies of recent years. He’s said that this one is a comedy he made when Netflix Indonesia asked for something more family friendly, so I thought I needed to keep my hopes in check. But a few minutes in it’s clear that some silly humor isn’t gonna get in the way of the gory headshots, stabbings, and bone-cracking martial arts duels you expect in a Tjahjanto joint. It’s an action comedy in the traditional sense of an actual action movie that also has some laughs, not in the sense of a comedy that half-assedly employs genre cliches as set up for riffing. The characters here happen to be goofballs, but that’s overshadowed by the legitimacy of the action the movie delivers.
The first Tjahjanto movie I saw was HEADSHOT (2016), where a group of orphans were trained from birth to fight and kill. Same thing here, except they become good guys, not evil bastards. They’re vigilantes who go after horrible people. But it’s a messed up thing to do, it’s a dark and dangerous world to live in, and there’s tragedy and emotion just like in the non-comedies. It’s just in a context where it leaves you smiling at the end. A wholesome smile, not an evil one. (read the rest of this shit…)