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Movie Review

Archive Review: The Intruder [Dir: Jopi Burnama – 1986]

Oh Rambu my friend, I’ve been after you for many months now and I’ve finally tracked you down and viewed your scum-beating antics…And what fun it was.

We open with a couple of thugs driving down a road where they run down a poor old woman carrying some groceries. The main thug, Charlie (Adang Mansyur) delares that he isn’t going to give her any money for the damages and asks her if she thinks she can “Get anyway with bullshittin’?” because to Charlie “Ladies are all the same!!!”…Out of nowhere a sound of breaking glass is heard, Charlie and his buddy turn around to find Rambu (Peter O’Brian) with metal pipe in hand standing next to the smashed window of their car. He demands they pay up or he’ll beat their car somemore. They do the smart thing and pay up and then the bright fellows decide to attack Rambu.

Big mistake, as Rambu whips the piss out of them and when they come back for more he unleashes his tennis ball of doom…it’s quite possibly the most surreal thing I’ve ever seen in an action movie. A tennis ball as a weapon that seems to have boomarang powers…At least I think it’s a tennis ball, could be a fucking apple for all I know. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

Charlie has other business to attend to later that night, as he has kidnapped a girl to extort money out of some fella named Hendrick…He parades her on the stage at his strip club as the MC introduces her basically as a hostage who will be let go when her dad pays the ransom…All the while the customers cheer and clap…Is Indonesia really this fucked up?

So anyway, out of nowhere comes Rambu and his best buddy Bobby, they save the girl and whip the piss out of Charlie once again. Mr White (Charlies boss, imagine Raymond Burr if he was a cocaine snorting psycho bastard.) wants “this intruder” (that’d be Rambu aka Alex Tarambulan) dealt with…He gets some goons to beat the shite out of him in a phone box and then he has Charlie rape and kill Rambu’s girlfriend. Lovley chap.

And after that it’s pretty much revenge time…numerous times actually, until the Rambo rip-off finale that is chock full of rocket launchers, machine guns and bullet belts strewn across Rambu’s bare chest…and ofcourse, a red headband…or a womans scarf in this case.

First I want to talk about Peter O’Brian who plays the eponymous ‘Intruder’ of the movie, Rambu. Man, is this guy stoic. Most of the time it seems like he couldn’t give a shit about anything. Whether it be taking a kicking, giving a kicking or seeing his raped and mutilated girlfriend on a slab in the morgue. A common jab that people always take at O’Brian is that his speciality is “eye acting” and I can certainly see why folks say that, as there are moments where nothing about his face seems attached to nerves apart from his eyes…But be warned, when Rambu get’s REALLY pissed, he could chew the scenary around anyone.

I’ll tell you one thing though, O’Brian is/was in shape…he’s got a sort of Bruce Lee meets Stallone physique…which he tarnishes the moment he disrobes and displays the flimsiest pair of undercrackers I’ve ever seen, and then minces off into the ocean for a swim for no apparent reason…oh wait there was a reason, it was so someone could get kidnapped and set up the next fight.

Speaking of which, that fight consists of about 20 motorbikes versus 20 tuk tuk’s, which Rambu summons with a couple of whistles after arriving in his own tuk tuk and handing out a few spankin’s on his own first…How exactly Rambu knows this many tuk tuk drivers is never explained, then again there’s a lot in this movie that’s never explained (that fucking tennis ball for example). A thing to watch out for during this epic confrontation is just how many of the bikers manage to do themselves in with any sort of offence being thrown at them…it’s as if they wanted stunts in the movie but couldn’t be arsed to think up of a way for them to happen, so you get get bikers crashing into parked tuk tuks and flying over the handle bars when they hit small stones on the ground.

The hand-to-hand fight scenes (of which there are many) are entertaining, I mean, they’re not great, but they’re not ‘3 Dev Adam’ style chaotic schoolyard brawls either. The makers were obviously inspired by the style of fights that Hong Kong was churning out during this era…and there are a few brief exchanges that look quite good and it’s obvious they atleast put a bit of effort into them, but none of the fights can really be classified as “well choreographed”. But fuck it if I want intricate fight scenes I’ll watch something else.

The dubbing is magnificent and random as hell in places, so much so that I’m positive that no script was given to the dubbing team. Mr White gets some great shit to spout, especially during the scene when one of his goons parades a choice of women in front of him. Listen to White’s ‘no bullshit’ critique style; it’s superb. Rambu ofcourse gets some great lines, most notably when he tells Bobby about how he despises “scum who intimidate the weak”…or my personal favourite moment when he is sliced with a knife and yells out “You cut me!”…Aye Rambu, he knows mate, he did it on purpose.

There is also his wonderful little scolding speech he gives to two bastards after beating the piss out of a buffet table with a pipe…No-one is safe from Rambu’s rage, not even the cheese and pickle on a stick.

To be honest there is never a dull moment, if there’s not some form of sudden violence going on there’s dialogue that’ll make you piss yourself. Next for me to track down is ‘The Stabalizer’ another O’Brian classic which is apparently just as good/bad as ‘The Intruder’.

To sum up, a film that is definetly worthy of its cult status. A holy grail for bad-film afficianados most definetly…And also one for you Rambo fans to check out, to see how your hero might fare if he lived in Indonesia, was friends with every taxi driver there, spent his days chinning people who intimidate the weak and now and then dressed up like a ninja for no reason.

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