The review of Foxtrot Six, the most expensive Indonesian film ever made, set in a near future ravaged by poverty and food crisis. Tonight on RAI4 on first tv.
In 2019 the whole world is collapsing due to climate change and the continuous conflicts taking place in every corner of the globe. Indonesia is also facing a serious economic crisis, with food shortages and a general condition of poverty that has further increased social inequalities, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
As we tell you in the review of Foxtrot Six, the story features the former marine and now journalist Angga Saputra, who has just made a marriage proposal to his girlfriend and colleague Sari. On the same day, however, the country was shocked by a coup d’état led by the revolutionary group of Piranas, with the elected president presumed missing. Eleven years later Angga became a Congressman and never heard from Sari, who he assumed was dead. Meanwhile, the food crisis has reached unprecedented peaks, so much so that a new rebel group has been born that intends to change the course of things forever. Angga will find himself personally involved in the change and will have to ask for help from five ex-comrades, eventually taking a position between the two parties and fighting for the rights of his people.
From the synopsis just exposed, one can already guess the narrative complexity of a setting that transports us into a much more than near future, a dystopian heir to contemporary fears, and which puts a lot of irons in the fire in an attempt to establish itself internationally. It is not a case that Foxtrot Six is the most expensive production ever made in Indonesia and boasts among the backers none other than Mario Kassar, who in the past worked on great classics of genre cinema such as Terminator e Rambo. Even the choice to film directly in English was certainly not accidental, in an attempt to immediately address the widest possible audience, and the hand of the star Iko Uwais and his team in supervising the action sequences adds further spice to an already grandiloquent staging. Yet not everything went smoothly…
I’ve seen this before
Indeed, Foxtrot Six seems like a melting pot of suggestions that flirt between the science fiction genre and that action, looking at the respective cornerstones without particular inventiveness and indeed often relying on more or less obvious copy-paste in the reiteration of consolidated archetypes: from last-minute rescues to acts of extreme sacrifice, from parachute jumps to that bond of brotherhood that unites main characters, the derivative solutions – both in terms of writing and staging – are wasted during the two hours of vision. Two hours of viewing which, if approached without too many expectations, still manage to entertain the relative target audience, with healthy violence and dry and brutal choreographies – in full tradition of the recent indigenous action, with the martial art of silat still doing it once as mistress – in the showdown between good and bad, even these marked on caricatured characters, without “shades of gray” to make the challenge partially more interesting.
In the name of justice
On the other hand, it is yet another struggle of Good against Evil, of the proletarian class against the rich, a vehicle in which the viewer can identify with the protagonists and push them towards the achievement of that goal which should improve life for ordinary people. Too bad there is little space to fully explore the members of the team of brave fighters, with the sole exception of the figure of Angga who is then that alpha and omega to which everything revolves around, between twists and daughters to be saved who still look once to a typical imaginary. L’pro-dystopian setting and the discreet special effects, with a lot of suits that make you invisible and bio-mechanical armor that seem to come out of Japanese cartoons of the Eighties offer partial charm to the aesthetic impact and some dry and brutal fight sequences – in which even a toothbrush can become a lethal weapon – guarantee the correct themed entertainment, even within a package that is more ambitious than actually successful.
In 2030 Indonesia, a former Marine who ascended to Congress after a coup takes the side of the rebels and recruits five of his former comrades to lead the uprising. But he will face pitfalls and dangers around every corner, while in the meantime the country is devastated by an unprecedented food crisis. As we told you in the Foxtrot Six review, the most expensive and ambitious Indonesian film ever is an action sci-fi without infamy or praise, which makes up for a cumbersome and confused narrative – which does not fully develop the characters and is at times incomplete – with a violent and gritty action soul at the right point, for two hours which, even without leaving a mark, can entertain the main target audience.
Because we like it
- The action choreography, curated by star Iko Uwais’ team, is effective and compelling.
- You notice the ambition behind the project…
- … but also the obvious ingenuity in approaching an operation of this type.
- The script does not delve into the context and the main characters in the best way.