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Guardian ("Pengawal")

International Premiere
  • Indonesia
  • 2014
  • 90 mins
  • DCP
  • Indonesian
  • English (subtitles)
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Indonesia has for many years now left a noticeable mark in Asia, especially within the action film universe. THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2011) and THE RAID 2 (2014) have greatly contributed to this cultural explosion. The eyes of many are now fixated on this part of the world that has pushed all limits to offer us unbelievable sights. Many directors are changing gears and veering towards action cinema. This is exactly what Helfi Kardit has done with his latest feature, GUARDIAN.

Marsya (Belinda Camesi) is your typical teenage girl who wants only one thing: to have fun and spend time with her BFF Thalia. However, ever since her father’s murder when she was just a child, her mom Sarah (Dominique Diyose) has insisted that she take martial arts classes. Bored by her mother’s teachings, she doesn’t understand the latter’s conviction on the matter. This changes the day Paquita (Sarah Carter) and her gang begin tracking them down, igniting an endlessly mad race through the streets of Jakarta. Who exactly are these people? And why are they after them? These are hard questions to answer when bullets are zipping by your head and cars are blowing up every which way you look.

Helfi Kardit has many films under his belt, but they’re usually more in the horror/suspense vein. A longtime lover of action films, he’d never had the chance to dabble in the genre. It’s a feat he finally achieves with GUARDIAN, in which all of his heartfelt passion can be felt onscreen. Exploding houses, over 20 destroyed automobiles, numerous fights, countless shoot-outs — and lots and lots of action. The large majority of these epic moments are treated with an old-school hand, as the CGI is reduced to a minimum, a grand achievement in and of itself. The fights are very physical and beautifully choreographed, filled with a wide variety of stunts. Cast-wise, Kardit can count on a nice mix of experience and young talent. Canadian actress Sarah Carter (FINAL DESTINATION) and Dominique Diyose both deliver solid performances and easily find their way amidst this world too often dominated by men.

GUARDIAN is what an action film should be. Its goal is simple: to do whatever it takes to offer the ultimate entertainment. So, if you enjoy highway car chases under a hail of bullets, knife fights, or motorcycle stunts, you’ve come to the right place!

— Éric S. Boisvert

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