Follow TV Tropes


Film / Merantau

Go To

Merantau (Journeying) is a 2009 Martial Arts Movie directed by Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais.

It tells the story of a young Indonesian martial artist named Yuda who leaves his home to travel to the bustling city of Jakarta in order to make a name for himself, in a centuries-old Rite of Passage called Merantau. However, after a series of setbacks leave him homeless and uncertain about his new future, a chance encounter results in him defending the orphaned Astri from becoming the latest victim of a European human trafficking ring.

The film, a surprisingly dark one for its genre, is considered the movie that gave international fame to Uwais, who later starred on The Raid Redemption along part of the same cast and again under Evans's direction.


This film provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Luc is very polite and calm, especially next to his associate.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Aside from being top guys of a human trafficking circuit, Ratger and Luc are tremendous martial artists.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ratger doesn't look very mentally stable, and Luc's death only worsens it.
  • Bad Boss: Ratger beats Johnny up during a tantrum and breaks a glass over Luc's head during another. Subverted in that he immediately repents doing the latter and hugs Luc in apology, but the act, rather than making him look caring, only shows further how nuts he is.
  • Berserk Button: For Ratger, hurting Luc (if it is not Ratger himself).
  • Big Bad: Ratger.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Yuda ends growing some for Adit, if only driven by circumstances.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Yuda dies, but Astri and Adit get out of their crappy life on the city.
  • Advertisement:
  • Broken Bird: Astri, due to her Parental Abandonment and subsequent hard life. Even more after Ratger rapes her.
  • Combat Pragmatist: A trait of silat. Yuda is not above using improvised weapons, although he usually ends up fighting barehanded.
  • Country Mouse: Yuda comes to Jakarta from a farming village.
  • Crapsack World: How the city is portrayed in contrast with Yuda's idyllic former life on the country. Adapting to it is a part of the Merantau journey.
  • Cool Big Sis: Astri is forced to become one to Adit, which is commented by Yuda.
  • The Cynic: Eric has become this over time, and considering what we are shown of the city, he definitely has his reasons.
  • The Dragon: Luc.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Yuda and Eric fight in an elevator just before the climax. This is preceded by an uncomfortable elevator moment.
  • Evil Counterpart: Eric to Yuda.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Yuda and Eric are pencak silat masters, Ratger uses Karate and Wing Chun, Luc uses wushu, and more or less all of the mooks have silat moves as well.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Ratger has a major one.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Astri, who works as a strip dancer just because it's the only way for her and her brother to get money to live.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Astri on Yuda's last moments.
  • Mook Chivalry: Zig-zagged during the final brawl. Although Ratger and Luc fight Yuda in a very coordinated manner, they do some strategic hesitating in order to keep the duel in an alternate one on one. However, at the same time, they do attack him in unison at vital moments and use actual team moves on him.
  • Nice Guy: Yuda is an unambiguously nice and shy person, in contrast with the rest of characters, who go from the Tsundere Astri to the downright Ax-Crazy Ratger.
  • Noble Demon: Eric.
  • No Indoor Voice: Ratger shouts his lines in nearly all of his scenes.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Yuda and Astri show some closeness later in the film, but nothing comes up between them due to his death at the end.
  • One-Man Army: Yuda, who beats down countless goons without catching a break.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Eric is rather short, but he definitely was not a bad silat practitioner before coming to the city.
  • The Power of Love: Pulled out at the final battle, when a battered Yuda manages to break out from Ratger's furious stranglehold only after hearing Astri inside of the container he is being choked against.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Eric sacrificies himself after his Heel–Face Turn to save Yuda from the guards's bullets.
  • Rite of Passage: The Merantau, obviously.
  • Street Urchin: Adit steals wallets in order to survive.
  • Tag Along Kid: Adit.
  • Villainous Friendship: There is a disfunctional but solid one between Ratger and Luc.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: