Upon initiating a heroic act to support a corrupted nation, a military lieutenant turned congressman (Oka Antara, The Raid 2) is double-crossed and left for dead by the nation he holds dear. When he learns that a government-enabled genocide plan is on the run, the congressman assembles a special-op to stop the mayhem and to settle the score. That’s simply the general outline of Foxtrot Six—a rambunctious political action-thriller that, along with 3: Alif Lam Mim (2015) and Buffalo Boys (2018), defines a new sub-genre of Indonesian action blockbuster.
Foxtrot Six sets in a dystopian world where most countries suffer from famish and poverty, meanwhile, a new Indonesia triumphs as a leading economy powerhouse. This Indonesia is a completely different country from the original one; think about it like Panem in The Hunger Games or Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s an English-speaking one-party state rising from the ashes of revolution; backed by ruthless, high-tech paramilitary faction called GERRAM and corrupted political party called PIRANAS—led by the so-called Four Horsemen. When I overthink it, the depicted country feels like an allusion of the country’s dismal New Order in a heightened sense; the way it raises into prominence, the way it enables the genocide, and the way it rules to benefit certain party only.
Fueled with the provocative premise, Randy Korompis flaunts his ambitious technical prowess. From production design that looks like a hybrid of The Hunger Games and The Raid, cyber-punk gadgets that looks as if it’s taken from the set of Aliens (that specifically is intended to tease the exosuit) or Metal Gear Solid, to the action sequences using a lot of close-quarter combat technique and varieties of suplexes, Foxtrot Six seems to get audience awe-stricken. However, the shiniest among all is the ensemble of casts, which pits together names like Julie Estelle (The Raid 2, The Night Comes for Us) with Chicco Jerikho, Rio Dewanto (Filosofi Kopi), Arifin Putra (The Raid 2) and others. With all of those, everything should’ve been a blast; but, as it turns out, the end-result is not that explosive.
The problem is: Foxtrot Six’s story is not a 2-hour movie material. Forced to be a 2-hour full-feature, the story becomes too convoluted. The movie introduces a lot of interesting aspects upfront, but immediately neglects most of them once the narrative goes full rampage. The political nature of the action has never been revisited, let alone the root of the entire problem: the global famish. The editing wasn’t helpful either—making transitions from one plot point to another feels jumpy and, worse of all, oversimplifying. The limited duration makes it the movie takes a lot of bypass to move forward between narrative points and to settle the conflicts. The most disappointing bypass comes on the end, with the movie’s resolution.
What we need to understand is: action movies have evolved. During its golden era in the 80s, the moments where most of movies that Mario Kassar (executive producer) produced were released, action movies are mostly blatant and action-oriented, as they functions as a mode of escapism. Nowadays, action movies tend to be more plot-oriented, even in the most straightforward ones like The Raid. While action sequences are still the main commodities, audiences expect it to be a more integral part of the story. What Foxtrot Six pursues seems to be the nostalgic moments for such bygone era; however, it deliberately copies the tendency to neglect the integrity of the plot, hence the mess: too many things to tell, but too lazy to take the hard way (understandably, because of the limited duration).
With the breathtaking high-concept political action-thriller, dystopian sets and enticing ensemble of casts, Foxtrot Six could’ve been a total mayhem, but it ends up being a convoluted oversimplification.
Foxtrot Six (2019)
Action, Thriller Written & Directed by: Randy Korompis Starred by: Oka Antara, Julie Estelle, Chicco Jerikho, Rio Dewanto, Arifin Putra, Verdi Solaiman, Mike Lewis Runtime: 114 mins