Indonesian martial arts expert topbills Pirate Brothers now being screened in cinemas


In one of the scenes of Pirate Brothers, a car appears out of nowhere and tries to run over Verdy (Verdy Bhawanta, shown in photo above).

With no time to move to the sides, he leaps onto the hood of the car, does a somersault in mid air, goes over the car and lands behind it. In another scene, he tries to evade dozens of armed men. In a split second he literally leaps into a car window and speeds off.

Most action films highlight fight scenes but here in Pirate Brothers there's a whole range of high flying action sequences and acrobatics. Different types of martial arts such as Capoeira and Wushu will definitely be seen going head to head.

Robin Shou as Sunny may be the biggest name in the film; he's an Asian American Hollywood actor who played Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat. Shou is currently shooting Death Race 3 in South Africa. But Verdy Bhawanta is the center of the action as lead star in the Pirate Brothers. This Asian action film features a martial artist using his Capoeira style which is primarily of Brazilian origin.

But Verdy actually uses a combination of Parkour and even Jiu jitsu to make the fight scenes more cinematic. Mixed martial arts fans will get a kick out of seeing a lot of different submissions such as arm bars and leg locks used in a fight situation. And they are not just used as chokes. Verdy can lock on a neck while standing, fall to the ground in a cartwheel and throw the guy out of a window. There are a lot of unique action sequences that will definitely amaze today's audiences especially those who follow Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Another UFC reference is the gang leader whose real name is Marcio Fernando Da Silva. His last name is similar to Middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Pride champ Wanderlei Axe Murderer Silva.

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Verdy (pronounced with an "F" like Ferdie) may have an advantage in winning over Filipinos hearts. He is Indonesian and was born in the famous island of Bali. He looks like our very own international rock star Arnel Pineda of Journey. The difference is that Verdy has short hair and is more muscular. His stature and lightning quick reflexes are also very similar to Jet Li. Fans will also notice that Verdy wipes his nose the way Jackie Chan does too.

In an interview with this writer, director Asun Mawardi assured me that there were no wires or CGI for the fight scenes. All the leaps, kicks and acrobatics were all real from the skills of Vherdy and other martial artists. Audiences can actually see the out takes during the credit portion of the film when he lands on his back immediately after the somersault off an approaching car. One bad guy also has cuts on the top of his head after crashing into glass.

However, there are quite a few holes in the storyline that defies logic. Sunny protected Verdy against bullies while growing up at an orphanage. When they cross paths again as adults, Verdy suddenly starts kicking ass all over the place. There was no explanation how he morphed into this superhuman grown up with all of these abilities.

The dialogue can also be unnatural contrived. For example, in a chase sequence, Verdy and Sunny run into an empty house that just happened to have swords on the walls, which of course, starts the sword fights.

A good story is like a foundation on which a film builds on. There's a stronger emotional attachment to the character and the action has a stronger effect on the viewers. The script is definitely not one of the strengths of Pirate Brothers. But if you want to watch a slam bang action flick with never before seen moves, then this is a must see.


SYNOPSIS. Shot in Indonesia, Pirate Brothers is about two orphans who form a brotherly bond. They are separated by fate: one is adopted by a wealthy family while the other leads a life of crime. Years later, their paths cross again, the wealthy one kidnapped by a gang that counts his brother as a member.

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Pirate Brothers is rated PG-13 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. It is currently being screened in select cinemas.


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