The Jakarta Post
On the move: Angga (Oka Antara, second left) assembles the Foxtrot Six squad from his old military platoon to resist a rival paramilitary leader. (Courtesy of MD Pictures/-)
New action film Foxtrot Six is not as shamelessly violent as other English-language Indonesian films like The Night Comes for Us or The Raid.
The film has a more solid story, and the pace and action of the film follow the story rather than overshadow it.
Randy Korompis’ Foxtrot Six is a mixed bag. On one hand, you have the performances of a stellar cast making the best of the forced dialog and situations. On the other, you’ll see Indonesian film producers reverting to the same tricks.
The film involves big names – including Mario Kassar of Terminator and Rambo fame as its executive producer. It also has a stellar cast including Oka Antara, Julie Estelle, Chicco Jericko, Verdi Solaiman, Rio Dewanto, Arifin Putra, Mike Lewis and Miller Khan, and despite the forced dialog they are required to deliver, they are the saviors.
Hear me out: Angga (Oka Antara) is romantically involved with Sari Nirmala (Julie Estelle). (Courtesy of MD Pictures/-)
Emotional scenes and lines, however, do not reach the heights they were supposed to, such as Oka Antara’s scenes with his on-screen estranged daughter, or the romance scenes between Oka’s character Angga and Sari Nirmala (Julie Estelle).
The scenes just feel strained, despite both actors excelling in other romance films in their filmography. But in a film that focuses more on the action, the romance aspect may become a casualty of priority.
Oka’s character starts out working for the evil government, but then he gets dragged to the good side when a rival paramilitary leader Wisnu (played by Edward Akbar) refuses to initially work with him on an evil government project and turns on Oka instead.
Oka then tries to assemble his old military platoon and puts together the Foxtrot Six squad to resist Edward’s crew.
In this situation, it isn’t clear though which side Oka is on. He rescues government ministers, yet fights to save the opposition rebels (lead by Julie Estelle’s character).
With the way old farts in government act and say things today, the dystopia seen in this film isn’t really that far-fetched. Of course politicians and bigwigs here are capable of starving the people and killing them for the sake of power. It’s happened before, and it will always happen in the future, as long as these old farts pass down their ways of thinking to their children, who will ultimately replace them and continue their family political dynasties.
Foxtrot Six, in a way, shows us a very possible reality of what can happen to this country.
Bring it on: Bara (Rio Dewanto) is involved in the fight. (Courtesy of MD Pictures/-)
But in the end, Foxtrot Six, which touted the Hollywood-level CGI aspect in their marketing campaigns, is another Indonesian action film that celebrates the hyper masculine, military-machismo image.
Uninteresting men in Indonesia aspire to be as tough, fearless and cunning as Oka Antara’s character.
Fortunately, this masculinity is balanced with Julie Estelle’s equally fearless and bolder character. She is the best performer of the film as she rarely comes off as awkward even when delivering the film’s forced dialog and her character also being the most interesting.
The fight scenes, while intense, are not as graceful and technical as, say, those with Iko Uwais or Joe Taslim, but this film is not about showcasing anyone’s ability to fight or Indonesian martial arts, and Oka performs well during these scenes.
With a film like Foxtrot Six, and having such English-language Indonesian peers as The Night Comes for Us or The Raid, you begin to wonder whether these kinds of ultraviolent, gritty-setting action films have really become our signature style – the style that we want the outside world to associate us with.
It’s worked though. The Raid series along with The Night Comes for Us have both been met with great acclaim outside of Indonesia. And Foxtrot Six is another attempt to catch the global eye.(ste)
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