None of this would work if the action scenes weren't so relentlessly committed to making you gasp, wince, and recoil in horror. The movie's butcher shop fight sequence is the best set-piece in the film and it plays like a stressful inversion of Netflix's latest cooking show Salt Fat Acid Heat. (The Night Comes for Us could be called Sweat Blood Guts Meat.) Long after a similar fight scene in a more conventional movie would end, this one just keeps going and going, incorporating racks of beef, gnarled bones, meat hooks, and buzz saws to terrifying, blood-spraying ends. Even from the comfort of your couch, you might wish you were wearing a waterproof poncho.
If there's a problem with a movie like this, one clearly designed to appeal to seen-it-all genre fans with a high tolerance for throat-slitting and boxcutters going through cheeks, it's that Tjahjanto and his collaborators often feel like they're working off of a gruesome checklist. There's a fight inside the back of a car, a fight in an apartment, a fight with a bunch of henchmen wearing sweatpants, and an absurdly long climactic fight between our two main characters where they slash each other up into tatters. How long can you watch this stuff before it becomes exhausting? When one character says, "It all ends here," you might find yourself praying he's not lying.
Instead of feeling like the action organically emerges from the situational demands of the narrative, it often feels like the story was reverse engineered to center around the often stunning physical feats. As a filmmaking approach, that's not necessarily a bad thing -- this summer's blockbuster hit Mission: Impossible - Fallout was clearly conceived as a string of stunning set-pieces tied together with witty spy-craft plotting -- but it puts pressure on the writer and director to make the connective tissue feel authentic, or at least fun. Tjahjanto and his cast are so good at hacking things up, you wish they'd learn to stitch a little better, too.