Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Intruder

You know you've got a winner on your hands when a film opens with a driving, plastic-jazz synth beat only to be cut off the moment an overweight Tommy Chong knocks down an old lady (gracefully called "Lady hit by car" in the credits) with his reckless driving, and follows it all with a spouting of misogyny.

You also know you've got a real winner when your hero is a poodle-haired bum with a gravity-defying bouncy ball, who announces that he is "RAMBU", just in time for the title card to declare him "THE INTRUDER" just as the plastic-jazz synth melody kicks back in. Words fail me simply at the opening of this review, I could go on about how the success of First Blood and the second Rambo movie spawned countless foreign knock-offs that were somehow trying to leech off their successes, but that wouldn't exactly cover The Intruder. This Indonesian effort is definitely modeled after First Blood, but this thing is really in a league of its own. 'Unbelievable' is a fitting way of summing the whole movie up in one word, if we were to break it down? 'Hilarious' might just about fit too.

Rambu (full name Alex Turambuan, yes I guess they had to come up with something to justify his name sounding similar to "Rambo") laments the risible job market of his location (welcome to the recession, sonny boy) and lives with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, overweight-Tommy Chong-lookalike Charlie kidnaps the daughter of someone who has failed paid to pay a ransom and forces her to dance on stage to an audience. They couldn't sound any more joyfully delighted at how a girl has been kidnapped and is being threatened with rape on stage. Lucky for her though, the sturdy arm of Rambu thrusts its way into shot to stop Charlie's evil amusement. Whatever the reason he had for being in such a smutty hive we'll never know, he must have sensed it needed his justice. After a bar room brawl, Rambu pins up Charlie and calls over the girl to deliver punishment: "I-I can't hurt him..." she bleats, "what do you mean you can't hurt him? He was ready to hurt you, go on and show him what it feels like! Slap him!", and so Charlie's punishment for attempted violation is a series of out-of-sync slaps to the face. Justice is served.

The girl's name is Ella and she, Rambu and his friend Bobby hightail it out there while a still-conscious Charlie just seems to give up on the floor. Charlie is just one of the many footmen of crime boss John White, a connoiseur of cocaine and curator of strange guns (shotguns with the butts of submachine guns?), who makes sure to contrast Rambu's tender moments with his girlfriend with scenes of him getting it on with his own girlfriend, complete with a funk-tastic porn groove anchoring his scenes. Meanwhile, a guy called Andre has taken a lot of interest in Rambu, because "he sounds like a real crime fighter", and so sends out one of his friends called Steven to interview him. Steven opens up with this goldie when Rambu asks how does he know him; "well we have a lot in common, we both love justice and hate crime", sorry Steven, but mutual interests in justice and crime-fighting make Rambu and the likes of showa-era Kamen Riders good friends, not schmucks like you.

However, things take a very personal turn when Charlie and his men brutally rape Rambu's girlfriend, and he's going to deliver a bit more than just slaps to the face...

This is an outrageous, over-the-top affair filtered through the no-budget lens of Indonesian exploitation. With Mr White's constant meddlings in drugs, rape and the way his women are even advertised to him as if they're prizes in gameshows, villains don't get much slimier. Similarly, heroes don't get much more super-powered than Rambu; a man who is able to beat up a gang of hoodlums while blinded and not even reel much from the blows of metal bars are the very least of his feats. To discuss this film's more insane aspects may be spoiling it, but needless to say, scenes of a three-wheeler van cavalry going head-to-head with roves of bikers have to be seen to be believed. Add to the greasy mix some very choppy editing, side-splittingly horrendous dubbing, impossible guns, non-existant muzzle fire and a score that seesaws between sounding cheap and pornoraphic and sounding like it belongs in Eraserhead, you have... a film beyond films. Its minimalistic locations and sets make the entirety of it look so barren and unusual, almost unintentionally surreal (couple this with the film's many other crazy elements, and you certainly have a recipe for something borderline surreal).

Star Peter O'brian has to be one of the most peculiar-looking Stallone imitators around, seemingly appearing muscular and undernourished all in one, and at other times looking as if he belongs to an AC/DC tribute band. Even with all the First Blood knock-offs out there, this one is without comparison, and I don't think there will ever be a finer action hero who is jobless to boot. To everyone who worked on The Intruder so many years ago, under what ungodly conditions, we salute you for turning out one of the most euphoric films in existance, it's a film that deserves its audience.

  • Music: 1/5
  • Editing: -2/5
  • Being one of the wackiest experiences in film: 4/5 
-James, 31 May 2011

Review source: Japanese VHS
Screenshout source: Unsubtitled VHS

Title information
  • Production company: Parkit Films
  • Year of release: 1986
Alternative titles:
  • "Pembalasan rambu", <Retaliation beacon> (Indonesia)
  • 超人ランブー, "Choujin ranbu" <Superhuman Rambu> (Japan)

1 comment:

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