Siluman Teluk Gonggo
Based on work by Bastian Tito
Directed by Lilik Sudjio
A giant martial arts fighting spider, a mad rapist with an evil parrot, a giant bird that has seen better days, and a bamboo flamethrower are just part of the fun of Siluman Teluk Gonggo. This fantasy martial arts adventure (since it is Indonesia, it is silat) is one of a series of films about pulp hero Wiro Sableng.
Wiro Sableng’s serialized martial arts adventures gained fame in Indonesia and turned the character into one of their most famous pulp heroes. The world of Wiro Sableng is best described as similar to the Jianghu “martial world” of wuxia fantasy, with different clans and martial sect that have different fighting techniques and local drama. Wiro spends much of his time wandering from area to area learning from the various masters and getting involved in local drama. Author Bastian Tito actually spent time traveling around Indonesia to the places Wiro was visiting, so he could write first-hand knowledge of the area. This also occasionally caused the stories to be delayed.
This is the sixth movie in the series starring Tony Hidayat as Wiro Sableng. This series is comprised of Empat Berewok Dari Goa Sanggreng, Dendam Orang-Orang Sakti, Neraka Lembah Tengkorak, Tiga Setan Darah Dan Cambuk Api Angin, Sepasang Iblis Betina, Siluman Teluk Gonggo, and Khianat Seorang Pendekar. There were two television series that portrayed the further adventures of Wiro Sableng, first starring Sukendro Herning (also known as Ken Ken) and then Abhie Cancer.
As you can imagine, there isn’t that much information in English. But I have determined the names of the two men who help Wiro Sableng are Lor Gambir Seta (K. Supranto) and Dewa Tuak (Piet Pagau), though I’m not sure which one is which.
But it’s not the actors that give our attention to Siluman Teluk Gonggo, it’s the monsters. Yes, there are Indonesian giant monsters! We get not only Wiro Sableng’s faithful giant bird companion, but a giant spider, a human-sized monkey creature, and some monster so large we only see it’s eyes and huge King Kong-sized hand. Exactly what it is, is a mystery to the ages. Or at least to people who don’t speak Indonesian, as they probably explain what it is.
Director Lilik Sudjio has a prolific career pumping out lots of Indonesian genre film that has gone barely noticed in the West for far too long. For every The Queen of Black Magic that gets a cool DVD release, there are a dozen Siluman Teluk Gonggos that sit around on vcds. Before his film work he was an actor, and then spent some time in film school in the US before returning to Indonesia and producing a lot of cool stuff. After 1990, he turned to directing television, as that was the way of the future as the film industry was collapsing.
Pulp hero Wiro Sableng has a tattoo that reads “212”, and carries around a variety of weapons. He has an ax that has a dragon-head hilt, and a throwing weapon used like a shuriken, in the film it has a sort of boomerang power and looks like a take on the weapon from Krull, but with just two blades.
The fighting choreography isn’t half bad, either. It’s not The Raid, but it isn’t The Bumbling, either. Though many of the actors are terrible at playing dead, they just casually drop to the floor like they’re going to sleep. The pacing and lack of subtitles (Here at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!) might drive some away, but stay for the last 20 minutes, that’s where the real fun and most of the monsters are.