Friday, January 11, 2019

Buffalo Boys

Although only the first scene of Buffalo Boys takes place in the Old West, there's never a doubt that Singapore's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 91st Academy Awards is a western through and through. The film tells the story of two brothers (Yoshi Sudarso and Ario Bayu) raised in exile in America who return home to Java with their uncle (Tio Pakusadewo) to avenge their father's death and bestow some justice to the Dutch oppressors led by the villainous Van Trach (Reinout Bussemaker).

While far from the most polished or original tale, Buffalo Boys proves to be an entertaining mix of marital arts and western themes. On the return home, the family comes across a village whose rebellious daughter (Pevita Pearce) will get wrapped up in their plans leading to the brothers standing against an army of Van Trach's men in the middle of town.

The final product could have been helped by the addition of more traditional wide-sweeping landscape shots and some tighter storytelling in spots, but it certainly hits the mark in old-school justice themes and in its extended gunfight that, of course, starts with a showdown on Main Street.

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