LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! – Seasoned actor Oka Antara chats with DAMAN’s Ricky Ronaldo about his role in upcoming action flick “Foxtrot Six” and how he hopes it’ll change the course of Indonesian filmmaking once and for all
Great action films are more than just sequences of mind-blowing action scenes. Though those play an important part —there’s the word “action” in it, after all—great action films are also defined by great storytelling. Oka Antara put it best during our chat about “Foxtrot Six,” an upcoming action film that he stars in. “It’s how the story actually drives the action,” Antara points out, “instead of the action driving the story.” This is one of the things that he feels is remarkable about “Foxtrot Six” and also what is missing from Indonesian-made action films. But that might soon change following the release of “Foxtrot Six.” Or, at least, this is what Antara hopes the film will do.
With a star-studded cast and a huge production crew helmed by executive producer Mario Kassar—who produced classic box office hits like “Rambo,” “Terminator 2” and “Total Recall”—“Foxtrot Six” is the latest Indonesian movie hoping to perform well on the global market. It’s a movie that’s set out to prove the strength and proficiency of Indonesian cinema, not only to a domestic audience, but for an international crowd as well. So far, it seems well on its way to do just that.
Starting with the premise, “Foxtrot Six” is set in a distant future where food has replaced oil as the world’s most valuable commodity. The movie follows an ex-marine, Angga (played by Antara), and his group of friends as they try to save Indonesia from a ruthless political party, named Piranas.
Antara got his first intro to the story from Randy Korompis, writer and director of “Foxtrot Six,” back in 2010. Yes, that’s nine years ago. Back then, it wasn’t even considered as a feature film. “Originally, it was meant to be a short film. we shot it in the back of his house like an indie film,” Antara reflects with a laugh. “So, you can say that the six of us signed a contract ten years ago, but we only started working on it two years ago.”
It was a dream come true for the seasoned actor to see this film come to life. Though he did mention that “The Raid 2” had the longest shooting days he ever experienced, with total production time clocking in at seven months, the four-month shoot for “Foxtrot Six” felt longer and more memorable since he had a leading role in it.
But it wasn’t exactly easy for Antara to play Angga. As a Piranas congressman (one of the bad guys) who is later kidnapped by Reform (the opposition party; so, the good guys), his character is constantly bombarded by new
revelations. As Antara points out, his character is always in a gray area. And on top of that, he plays an ex-marine, and is therefore supposed to be mentally tough. “We have completely different personalities,” he elaborates about
his role. “I don’t want to think that highly of myself but I feel that I’m a very loyal person. I never see myself as someone who lives in a gray area. So, I had to look for so many references to play Angga.”
The challenge continued with physicality. Antara went through a boot camp with the Mobile Brigade Corps of the Indonesian police in Bogor, where he learned about weapon-handling, stunts and how to be a good combat strategist. He also had a fitness regimen added to his weekly schedule—thrice a week to be exact—for two months.
Of course, all of this is pretty much par for the course since “Foxtrot Six” is an action movie and Antara plays the main hero. One thing he insists on, however, is how the movie is different from most action titles out there when it
comes to variety. Antara excitedly listed off the many types of action scenes audiences can expect to see in “Foxtrot Six,” including drops from elevators, collapsing buildings, gun battles, explosions, men vs. robot fights, battles in the rain and some skydiving thrown in for good measure. “When people ask what kind of action comes in an Indonesian movie, the answer is usually martial arts,” he explains. “But ‘Foxtrot Six’ offers a lot more
As our conversation goes on, Antara reveals that he felt that martial arts have been overplayed in Indonesian cinema. “Man, Indonesia is missing out on so much. We have to do car chases, elevator drops, skydiving and motorbike chase scenes. We cannot just stick with martial arts,” Antara states passionately. “We’ve been portraying ourselves just like
that for years. That’s the only thing we can do: martial arts. We cannot do anything technical.”
“We’re bringing our A game in ‘Foxtrot Six,’” he continues. “This is, like, the climax of action. I know we did many great things before, like ‘The Raid’ and ‘The Raid 2,’ but those two were made by a Welshman, Gareth Evans. So, we need someone local who lives in Indonesia, who makes films in Indonesia and who makes Indonesian films that provides the opportunity for Indonesian crews and actors to perform.” Perhaps one word that can sum up everything Antara has said would be “trust.” Trust from Indonesian filmmakers towards Indonesian actors and actresses to do something more than just martial arts, and Antara is definitely hungry for a change. “The pressure is not on us, it’s not on Randy, but it’s on other filmmakers—Indonesian filmmakers.” he closes the conversation.
So, if everything works out in “Foxtrot Six,” we might not just witness a new historical milestone for Indonesian cinema, but a change the industry desperately needs.
Photography Andre Wiredja
Styling Primawan Hakim
Location Promemoria Jakarta
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