Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Burn the Sun

Today at Spectacle, the head honcho of Screen Slate presented a marathon of action films directed by Indonesia's Arizal. Who? Well, apaprently he's a very prolific director who made all sorts of films, and through the 80's did a bunch of these cheesy exploitation pictures. All tropes and excess strung around threadbare plots, plus a decidedly eastern take on western conventions. I caught the first one, which started at 12:45, and I was the only one who showed up. It was also the only one of the six films that was not dubbed in English. No subs either, but none necessary. This one is heavy on the hand to hand combat and has more melodrama. Apparently the others are all explosions, car chases, fighting, shooting and other such havoc. As To Burn the Sun opens, Barry Prima, yeah, the cat from the Warrior movies
 is in a funky Indonesian disco with a live band playing this song wrapped around a brain numbing guitar riff. The bandleader had big collars and so forth. Barry spies his fiance, played by his real life partner Eva Arnaz. He tries to talk to her, but she blows him off and is escorted out by some older dude. Barry follows them outside and a bunch of hoods attack him but he kicks their ass karate / silat style. Anyway, he tracks her down and it turns out (via copious flashbacks) that bandits raided her village, killed her family, raped her and forced her into prostitution, all essayed in lurid and exaggerated fashion. The crazy mustaches and afros of the incessantly leering baddies are exemplary of this, as is the moment when the women forced into the sex trade share a bed only to awake to the sight of another female captive who has hanged herself. Were talking pantomime style here. Barry orchestrates a semi-elaborate escape plan using cars ad decoys, then her grandfather trains her in silat and it's time for revenge and returibution. During the training and subsequent fight scenes, there is this weird country song that plays incongruously, which actually makes the proceedings all the more awesome (see the clip of Eva fighting below). In one set piece the bandits circle her in two jeeps while she cradles a toddler until she manages to dodge both cars forcing one to run into a brick wall. Mind you, the wall isn't part of a building, it's just a random partition near a hut. The whole movie is gloriously inane and insane. Eva was truly star material, what with her high cheek bones, raven hair, and groovy moves.

The above clip is prime Prima from the typically ridiculous The Devil's Sword. Below is Eva kicking ass in To Burn... (don't recall the bionic noises in the version I saw). I don't think they could show nudity in Indonesian films, but they did manage to expose her underwear a lot in this scene.

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