Often it is more significant what the protagonist does in an action film, rather than what they say. For this reason, the hero being deaf in Preman: Silent Fury allows for the emphasis to remain on the action elements. For much of the buildup, the protagonist is a silent observer, until he decides to make his stance known through violence. This is a wonderful setup for an action movie, but it is unfortunately let down by the execution of Preman’s narrative.
We join Sandi (Khiva Iskak) as an adult, working as a paid thug for a criminal mob in a small Indonesian town. Despite being warned by loved ones near him, Sandi continues this lifestyle until it threatens to endanger the life of his son, Pandu (Muzakki Ramdhan). Although the criminal organization Sandi works for began as a social justice collective, they are corrupt and prone to unjustifiable violence. After Pandu witnesses the murder of an innocent man, Sandi finally pushes back against them to protect his son.
While a solitary man going up against a criminal organization is not a new premise, Preman does have the distinct cultural characteristics of Indonesia to set it apart. There are even a few viciously violent sequences, though they have the misfortune of inevitable comparisons to other Indonesian action movies like The Raid franchise or The Night Comes For Us. Although Preman has a few memorable sequences, including one in which a scissor-wielding assassin nicknamed “The Barber” (Revaldo) tracks him down for a bloody fight, it never comes close to reaching the level of recent Indonesian action films.
The Blu-ray for Preman only comes with a trailer and optional English dubbing. The high-definition presentation only makes it more apparent that this is on the lower end of Indonesian action releases. Action fans may enjoy a sequence or two, but are likely to find more excitement in other films, not to mention better storytelling.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 3/10
Special Features: 1/10