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Joko Anwar
Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae
Writing Credits:
Joko Anwar

Superpowered vigilante Gundala battles the wicked Pengkor and his diabolical squad of orphan assassins.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Indonesian DTS-HD MA 5.1
Indonesian Dolby 2.0
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 7/28/2020

• Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Production VLogs
• Trailers & Previews


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Gundala [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 20, 2020)

Perhaps because the genre started in the US, superheroes seem like an inherently American institution. However, over the 80-plus years since Superman debuted, plenty of other nations gave superpowered characters their own slant, and in that vein comes 2019’s Gundala.

An Indonesian product adapted from a comic that started in 1969, Gundala introduces to Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya), a young man who lived on the streets for years after his father died and his mother disappeared. In this underprivileged setting, Sancaka attempts to keep his head down and out of trouble.

However, when Jakarta becomes embroiled amid violence and corruption, Sancaka finds himself unable to stay on the sidelines. He adopts the vigilante persona “Gundala” and attempts to fight for justice.

If you sense a connection to Batman there, I suspect you’re not alone. Granted, Sancaka grows up under radically different circumstances than does Bruce Wayne, as the former suffers from deprivation whereas the latter enjoys the lap of luxury.

Still, more than a few similarities emerge. Both characters lose their parents at a young age, and both exist in depraved, crime-ridden cities that need someone to battle against corruption.

All these connections aside, Gundala manages to feel like its own film and character. No one can escape the echoes of the Dark Knight, but Gundala still manages to stand on his own two feet.

In addition, unlike the Caped Crusader, Gundala boasts supernatural powers. He can harness the power of lightning, an ability that makes him resemble a mix of Batman and X-Men’s Storm.

When the film pursues its story, it can sputter, partly because it lacks a terribly compelling main villain. It also takes a pretty long time for Sancaka to formally adopt his superhero persona.

That doesn’t seem like a fatal flaw – heck, Batman doesn’t really “begin” until a good hour into that movie either – but the story can feel stuck in neutral for too long.

In Begins, we get good development as we await Bruce’s return to Gotham and adoption of the cowl. Gundala pushes along its plot elements in a semi-rudimentary manner that can feel like a chore at times, as though the film doesn’t really want to bother with all this exposition but it feels it must explore these domains.

And it does need to go through them, but it probably could do so more rapidly. Enough intrigue emerges across the film’s first hour that it keeps us with it, but it could use a quicker pace.

Even if Gundala suffers from some lack of originality and pacing issues, the movie still entertains, mainly due to well-executed action scenes. The story manages to integrate Sancaka’s learned marital arts skills for exciting battles, and his ability to utilize lightning adds a spark.

When Gundala engages in these sequences, it soars. Director Joko Anwar gives the fights real spark and intensity, factors that allow them to blossom.

I wish the rest of Gundala fared as well as the action scenes, but even with some narrative issues, the film mostly entertains. It packs enough superhero excitement to prosper.

Footnote: a tag scene appears during the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus D+

Gundala appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this became a terrific presentation.

Sharpness worked well, as nary a sliver of softness crept into the image. This meant we got a consistently precise, accurate film.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the movie lacked edge haloes. No instances of source flaws materialized.

As expected, Gundala offered a stylized palette, one that favored a red-orange flavor. Some teal and amber appeared as well, and the hues worked well given the cinematic choices.

Blacks felt deep and dark, and shadows boasted nice clarity and smoothness. Everything about the image satisfied.

In addition, Gundala came with a rollicking DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, one that packed a lot of action. The frequent thunderstorms used the channels in an involving manner, as did general environmental material.

As a superhero movie, Gundala brought plenty of violent sequences, and those offered solid use of the spectrum. Various battle elements appeared all around the spectrum to form a vivid sense of the story.

Audio quality worked well, with dialogue that seemed consistently natural and concise. Music appeared rich and full.

Effects boasted terrific impact, with clean highs and deep lows. I felt pleased with this exciting soundtrack.

Behind the Scenes breaks into four parts, with a total running time of 19 minutes, 29 seconds. Across these, we get notes from writer/director Joko Anwar, fight choreographers Andrew Suleiman and Cecep Arif Rahman, and actors Abimana Arya, Tara Basro, Marissa Anita, Lukman Sardi, Rio Dewanto, Bront Palarae, and Muzakki Ramdhan.

The clips cover the source and its adaptation, cast and crew, aspects of the shoot, locations, story/characters, and stunts/fights. These include shots from the set as well, and those offer some value, but mostly “Behind the Scenes” feels promotional and without lots of substance.

We also get three clips under Production Vlog. These fill a total of two minutes, 40 seconds and provide brief comments from Arya, Anita and Ankar. These mainly provide short glimpses of the shoot, and they don’t give us much to make them compelling.

The disc opens with ads for Peninsula, Cut Throat City and Enter the Fat Dragon. We also get two trailers for Gundala.

A popular Indonesian superhero comes to the big screen via Gundala. While not the most original comic book movie I’ve seen, it packs enough fun and excitement to entertain. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. Gundala becomes a pretty good entry in the genre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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