Explore The Roots Of Indonesian Action With GARUDA POWER

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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While Gareth Huw Evans may have reintroduced the world to Indonesian action with Merantau and The Raid, those films are not an introduction of the action genre to the SE Asian nation but, rather, a reinvigoration of a tradition that spans back to the 1930s. And for those wanting to get deeper into that history upcoming documentary Garuda Power dives deep into the history of action cinema in Indonesia.

THE RAID 1 & 2's success put worldwide spotlight on a largely unknown Asian Cinema country; few people know that there are currently 80 movies produced per year and that Gareth Evan's instant action classics are the latest of a range of hundreds of totally crazy action titles produced in Indonesia since the early 1930s.

The docu-fiction GARUDA POWER is the final result of many years of research about Indonesian Action Movies - or what's still left of it.

It focuses on Action Movies from the first Chinese-influenced martial arts movies of the 1930s, the James Bond copies of the swinging 1960s, the Bruce Lee-alikes and super hero  comic book adaptations of the 1970s, the golden age of the 1980s up to recent worldwide success of the two RAID movies.

It will include never-before shown footage of old forgotten Action titles, many interviews of cult actors (Barry Prima, George Rudy, Billy Chong aka Willy Donzan; Advent Bangun...) and directors (Imam Tantowi, Ackyl Anwari...) of the 1980s and some unreleased behind-the-scenes footage of newer movies.
Directed by Bastian Meiresonne and produced by Julien Thialo at Shaya Production, Garuda Power is currently in post production and aiming for a festival run later this year. Check out a series of stills from the film below!

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Ackyl AnwariactionAdvent Bangunbarry primaBastian MeiresonneBilly Chonggaruda powerGeorge RudyImam TantowiindonesiaWilly Donzan
Andrian Nur PrabawaApril 4, 2014 2:09 PM

As indonesian I would like to say thank you very much to twitch for publishing an awesome article about indonesian action movie. BUT, you should to know there's so many action drama in indonesia not only The Raid, Merantau or Garuda Power.
They are "saras 008", "panji manusia melenium", "wiro sableng" or my favorite is "sinema laga indosiar" when the guy riding an eagle. Yes !!! Riding an eagle !!! Damn that looks so badass. LOL!!! :))

Hahahaha, btw my comment just kiding and no offense. So I hope oneday Indonesian action movie can beat Hollywood action movie ! Bravo ... !!!

GuestApril 4, 2014 3:21 PM

Well Andrian Nur Prabawa, you might be happy to know that some pictures featured in this article are taken on set of TV action drama KIAN SANTANG included in GARUDA POWER - and that we'll CERTAINLY include the famous SAUR SEPUH eagle to resurrect Indonesia's golden age of action cinema!! Happy?!! ^^

StevieyzApril 5, 2014 9:43 AM

Indonesia used to produce many great exploitation and war movies back in the 70's-80's. Too bad they're not producing those kind of movies anymore. Barry Prima and Eva Arnaz FTW!

Hanajun ChungApril 5, 2014 10:56 PM

After seeing The Raid 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier this past week, the former has shown that Evans and Indonesia not only kicks ass providing modern action films, but also has recently inspired Hollywood in the way they do action, as seen in The Winter Soldier. BTW, The Raid 2 was incredible.

What made TWS awesome in the action was that you could see Team Merantau's influence with some of the hand-to-hand scenes, but you also get some John woo/Hong-Kong style stuff with the gunplay. It could've been a disjointed mess, but different styles are handled well in service to overall film. Now I read a while back that the new ninja turtle's film also fancied what they saw in The Raid: Redemption and Fist of Legend, so we'll have to wait and see to see how that turns out.

Rage72April 6, 2014 8:21 PM

Excellent! I grew up watching a lot of Billy Chong's movies! he doesn't get the props that he deserves! he is a great martial artist/actor and had some classic kung fu films from back in the day. Nobody could beat Billy Chong and Carl Scott!

Bastian MeiresonneApril 7, 2014 3:05 AM

@Stevieyz:disqus: YES, 70s & 80s were definitely the golden age of action movies (and 80s golden age of Indo Cinema in general, but dozen of action movies done every year) - and the documentary is trying to give a few answers why it was so and why it all stopped in the 90s. Curiously we found out action movies were already very popular since the...1930s...and even have some footage of movies of back that time!! ;)

@hanajun:disqus: Very interesting thing to say and compare...since Indonesia (and most Asian countries in general) got a lot of Western / European influences since beginnings of cinema and re-inspires Hollywood again with some more "local flavors". What is absolutely amazing is to compare WINTER's and THE RAID 2's budgets...THE RAID 2 is definitely more work, with real fighters who know how to stage fight scenes and take incredible risks to do so. What people don't know is how difficult it is to do such kind of movie in actual Indonesia's movie industry - and the car sequences alone are IN-CRE-DI-BLE since such highly staged sequences have never been shot before on that kind of level (just compare with recent "action flicks" or "Modern action" Cynthia Rothrock's movies of the 90s) AND knowing the high traffic jams of Jakarta, those sequences are just a miracle. Gareth grew up with Hong Kong movies, so it's quite normal to see major influences of that type of cinema in his movie...but then, one can see that Indonesian Cinema Action of 1970s and 1980s was also already higlhy influenced by Hong Kong's SHAW BROTHERS productions and both countries even worked closely together...so actually it's pretty natural.

@rage72:disqus: I met Billy Chong several times and interviewed him. He's on the edge of directing and playing in a new action movie, which should feature his oldest son as main cast!! ;)