Watch Merantau

"Every journey must begin with one small step."
  • R
  • 2009
  • 2 hr 15 min
  • 6.7  (11,453)

Merantau is a 2009 Indonesian martial arts action movie that marked the feature film debut of filmmaker Gareth Evans, who would later gain international fame for directing The Raid: Redemption. The movie stars Iko Uwais, a rising star in the Indonesian martial arts scene, alongside Sisca Jessica and Christine Hakim. The story follows Yuda (Uwais), a young man from a rural village in Sumatra who travels to Jakarta to complete his merantau - a traditional rite of passage for young men in Minangkabau culture, which involves leaving home to seek experience and success in the outside world. Yuda plans to teach silat, a traditional Indonesian martial art, in the city and make a name for himself. However, things take a turn for the worse when he rescues a young woman, Astri (Jessica), from a group of human traffickers who operate under the guise of a martial arts school. Yuda finds himself hunted by the gang's enforcers, who will stop at nothing to retrieve Astri and eliminate anyone who gets in their way.

Merantau is a thrilling action movie that showcases the art of silat, a style of combat that emphasizes speed, agility, and precision. The fight scenes in the movie are intense and visceral, but also elegant and fluid, with a strong emphasis on the coordination and control of the fighters. Uwais, who was a trained silat practitioner before becoming an actor, delivers a standout performance as Yuda, displaying both his physical prowess and his acting range in a role that requires him to convey a range of emotions.

The movie explores themes of identity, loyalty, and sacrifice as Yuda grapples with his sense of duty to Astri, who becomes a surrogate family member to him, and his desire to complete his merantau and fulfill his personal ambitions. The scenes set in Yuda's home village provide a contrast to the urban chaos of Jakarta, and while they are brief, they offer a glimpse into the rich cultural traditions of the Minangkabau people.

One of the highlights of the film is the chemistry between Uwais and Jessica, who plays Astri with a combination of grit and vulnerability. The relationship between the two characters is complex and layered, evolving from a simple act of chivalry to a powerful bond built on mutual respect and shared experiences. The scenes where they train together and share a meal provide a glimpse into the human connection that can transcend language and cultural barriers.

The supporting cast also shines, with Hakim delivering a memorable performance as Ratger, the matriarch of the human trafficking gang. Her character is a fascinating antagonist, a woman who wields power through intimidation and who harbors a twisted sense of morality. Her scenes with Uwais are especially tense and riveting, showcasing the dynamic between the two characters and the strength of their convictions.

At its core, Merantau is a movie that celebrates the Indonesian martial arts tradition while also showcasing the talents of its lead actor and director. The film's pacing is brisk, with plenty of action to keep audiences engaged, but it also has moments of emotional depth and character development. The final fight scene, which takes place in a high-rise apartment building, is a tour de force of choreography and cinematography, showcasing the beauty and brutality of silat in equal measure.

Overall, Merantau is a must-see for fans of martial arts movies and action cinema in general. It's a thrilling, suspenseful ride that marks the beginning of a successful collaboration between Uwais and Evans, who would go on to make two more movies together and become one of the most exciting director-actor pairs in modern cinema.

Merantau is a 2009 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

Where to Watch Merantau
Merantau is available to watch free on Crackle, Plex, Pluto TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Philo, Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Merantau for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (11,453)