Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Warrior 2 (1983)

aka The Warrior and the Blind Swordsman

Original title: Si Buta lawa Jaka Sembung

When last we saw the heroic Indonesian freedom fighter Jaka Sembung (Barry Prima), he had just ended the Dutch colonial reign over Indonesia by gorily despatching of a lot of evil people. It doesn't seem to have stuck, though, and so this sequel finds Jaka fighting his old enemies again. In fact, he and his merry band of rebels are so effective at their jobs that the Dutch colonel governing the land is already at the end of his rope.

The best weapon against Jaka's magical martial arts prowess seems to be to hire local talent, so the Colonel holds a fighting tournament whose winner will have the dubious honour of killing Jaka for him. The winner is a blind magical stick fighter known as Si Buta (Advent Bangun).

Si Buta merrily proceeds to search out Jaka, rips his head off and cashes in a chest of gold for the body part. The Dutch, being evil and all, decide to not let Si Buta get away with the payment due to him and attack the warrior on his way home. Si Buta fights his enemies off by throwing parts of a forest at them, but is mortally wounded during the fight. Fortunately, a woman named Maki has observed the last half hour of the movie from various trees and does a little sex healing magic on Si Buta. He isn't pleased with that, though, and declines the woman's friendly offer of more sex, marriage, immortality and a soul forever damned to hellfire, because he is a rather nice guy at heart. Or so he says. This pisses Maki off so much that she tries to kill the still wounded Si Buta by jumping up and down on his chest.

And the evil magician would have gotten away with it too, if not for the timely appearance of a very lively Jaka Sembung, who drives Maki away and takes care of Si Buta's wounds. You see, Si Buta's attack on Jaka was just an illusion the talented guy used to cheat the Dutch out of their gold.

Now, together, Jake and Si Buta only have to fight off Maki and her cult of giggling magic fu amazons and the Dutch to secure a happy end for themselves and Indonesia.

Worod Suma's The Warrior 2 isn't quite as transcendentally awesome as Sisworo Gautama Putra's first adventure of Jaka Sembung, but it's still a highly entertaining entry into the Indonesian Magic Fu exploitation genre.

Sure, it's not as insane an experience as the first movie, but we're still talking about a film in which an elderly evil guy's possession of what I hope is a prehensile tail and not a tentacle growing out of his behind seems like a perfectly ordinary thing nobody even deigns to mention as something special or bizarre, a film in which knowledge of magic like invisibility or teleportation is utterly common and a film that can't go five minutes without something completely outrageous happening. That not everything that does happen makes much sense is of course a given, but I don't think anybody would go into a film like this expects anything different.

Worryingly, I have to admit that the plot as a whole probably makes a bit too much sense. It's the old story of freedom fighters wasting their time and energy on infighting when they should try to concentrate on their true enemy while said true enemy comes to gloatingly mop up the survivors when they have mostly eradicated themselves. Don't fret, though, this instructive lesson is taught to the audience in the gory, and highly distractible comic book style of Indonesian cinema of that era, by a director who just can't help himself but has to pile subplot on subplot on silly aside until the film becomes a lumbering mountain of one damn thing after another.

That's of course exactly what I came to The Warrior 2 for, so every minute spent on Maki's problems in finding a willing partner to produce a child that will rule the world (and why is that always such a problem for evil queens in Indonesian films? Even Margaret Thatcher was married, after all, and none of them is that evil) is a minute well-spent, as is each and every other minute of the film, now that I think of it.


No comments: