|The Warrior (1981)|
|Director:||Sisworo Gautama Putra|
|Starring:||Barry Prima, Eva Arnaz and W.D. Mochtar|
|The Plot: Jaka Sembung (Barry Prima) is a freedom fighter leading the revolution against the Dutch invaders who have overtaken Indonesia. Although he appears to us first as a captive, he soon escapes and embarrasses the local Dutch military who will do anything to capture this savage yet again. Rather than calling for military reinforcements, and looking poor in the face of the general command, the leading Dutch officer instead turns to the local citizens for help in finding this rough and tumble Jaka Sembung. Although most of the population look to Sembung as a local hero, fighting the good fight, there are still some evil men who would turn against him. This leads the Dutch to turn towards Kobar, the incredible strongman who possesses powerful black magic, as well as an evil magician who raises one of Sembung’s oldest enemies, the nefarious Kieten, from the dead! Will Jaka Sembung rescue the Indonesian people or will these forces of evil prove to be too much for this warrior?|
I’m sure there are few within Indonesia who would want a film such as The Warrior to fully represent their culture, but this is a movie that provides a brief glance into the history and customs of this nation. The first thing that grabs my attention about The Warrior, in terms of what differentiates it from other exploitation films of this era, is the heavy role of religion within this story. Islam came to the islands of Indonesia between the 8th and 13th century, and is the dominant religion even now, so it only seems natural that this would heavily play into any tale of social justices. The character of Jaka Sembung is shown to be heavily religious and uses this as a rallying cry against the Dutch. The Dutch colonized Indonesia during the 17th century and although a date isn’t properly given within this movie, it seems a fair guess that the film takes place in the late 19th century or early 20th century. The Dutch, who I don’t remember having ever seen cast as villains before, are played as barbarians here who care nothing for the ways and culture of the Indonesian people. As gloriously over the top as their portrayal is though, and considering the fact that the Dutch invaders are played by Asians wearing blonde wigs and beards, I highly doubt anyone from the Netherlands will find offense in this movie. It’s hard to take anything serious after you’ve seen a blind man transformed into a pig!