Rambu (aka The Intruder)

The Intruder (aka Rambu)

Hmmm… Rambu…  Why does that name sound so familiar?  Could it be because it sounds eerily similar to that Sylvester Stallone character?  What’s his name?  Rambo you say?  Yeah, if you saw the box for this movie sitting in your video store, you’d think it probably had something to do with Rambo, right?  I’m pretty sure the makers of this movie were banking on that.  They even tried to make the characters somewhat similar.  This guy Rambu (played by New Zealander Peter O’Brian) holds an eery resemblance to Sylvester Stallone, except he’s lanky, and a little less muscular.  One of the characters actually calls him Rambo, and he dons a red headband to try to capture the look.  Unfortunately, all the toughness that headband provides is offset by the wet, saggy speedo he’s sporting in the same shot.

Is that Rambo, Rambu, or the guy with the red headband from Ikari Warriors?

The name Peter O’Brian doesn’t really sound like the name of an Indonesian action film star does it?  Well guess what, IT IS! In Rambu (aka The Intruder, or Pembalasan Rambu), O’Brian plays the title character, a unemployed hard ass who doesn’t let anybody give the local villagers any shit.  When a local gangster rapes and kills his wife, he goes on singularly focused journey to put the man responsible away for good.  That man is the totally originally named John White (played by Craig Gavin), a local crime boss and heroin kingpin fronting as a philanthropist.  Rambu teams up with Mr. Andre, another local businessman who wants John Smith to spend his remaining time behind bars.  With Rambu supplying the brawn, and Mr. Andre supplying the brains, this combination should have no problem pinning down John White, and taking his crime syndicate down for good!

One of the first things you’ll probably notice when watching this film is the sound.  Something’s just not right about it.  It doesn’t take long for you to figure out that everyone in the entire film has been overdubbed.  I’m not just talking about the Indonesian actors who probably have thick accents that might be hard to understand.  When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE, including the American star, O’Brian.  Maybe they did it to give the film a uniform sound, but they ended up going way overboard, because even the music and ambient sounds in the film sound like they were recorded in one sitting at a studio.  It gives the whole soundtrack a really surreal quality that I haven’t seen too often.  Let’s forget about the sound though, and get to what this movie is really about… ACTION!

Got the three wheel motion

Rambu is basically a catalog of action scenes that are loosely held together with a threadbare story.  The action features O’Brian showing off his moves, which resemble an orangutan raising both of it’s lanky arms and thrashing them wildly against his foes.  While he’s not the best fighter, Rambu has one thing working for him and that’s his speed.  Every fight looks like it’s been either sped up, or O’Brian was on a constant cocktail of cocaine and crystal meth throughout each scene.  Rambu also features two of the funniest fights I’ve seen in a while.  The first one is actually the opening sequence, where he goes to town on some local gangsters car, and then finishes them off by bouncing a red rubber ball off of their heads.  The other is a 50’s style rumble featuring a gang on dirt bikes versus a group in 3 wheeled cars bashing each others heads in.

Unfortunately, Rambu suffers from the cliche of “too much of a good thing”.  The fights are great and all, but it never really gives you a break to let you process them.  It’s too busy moving onto the next fight, or the next predictable twist.  It’s one of those movies that’s only an hour and a half long, but because the pacing is off, it feels like it’s twice as long.  This would be the perfect movie to get drunk with your friends and watch, but you’d each down a six pack trying to keep up with the action, and end up passing out before you see the entire anti-climactic ending.  Instead, you’d be better off watching one of Peter O’Brian’s other movies, The Stabilizer, which we’ll be reviewing in the upcoming weeks.

10 thoughts on “Rambu (aka The Intruder)”

  1. I just love this film. Seen it over and over again – there’s just so many small details to be found if you look closely. If you like a campy movie then see this. It has had a big impact on my life. I WA-AS!

  2. Thomas,
    Cool you like RAMBU so much! A couple of months ago, me and a friend of mine actually tracked down Peter O’Brian! He still lives in Indonesia and he’s an English teacher now! By the way, he’s not American but from New Zealand. You can read about it on my blog.

    By the way, did you know that them Indonesians over in Indonesia actually made T-w-o versions of the film?? Well, THEY DID!! The version you know is the one they made for the international market. However, for the local Indonesian market they released the exact same film, same footage and all, but with a DIFFERENT actor to playing the role of Rambu!!! I’m not kidding. It’s released on VCD and you can see the cover on my blog and there’s two segments from the film. And actually, as late as of yesterday, my friend received a photo of O’Brian saying hi. Pretty cool.

    Here’s a link to all my posts about RAMBU:


    I hope this site doesn’t mind this shameless plug for my own site but it’s all in the spirit of Rambu information, LOL.


  3. Jack,

    Thanks so much for the information about Rambu. All of us at IB are HUGE Peter O’Brian fans so it’s nice to see he is still helping the people of Indonesia. Its amazing to see there are other people out there who share a fondness for great Indonesian cinema and especially POB! Keep up the good work!


  4. Thats just incredible! Unbelieveable!

    This piece of news has rocked my world. Ever since I first saw The Intruder (back in ’91 it must be) POB has become a mythic person. And now he is somehow within reach!!


  5. Haha, I know how you feel, Thomas. My friend Ian initially told me about it in a forum post over at Dvdmaniacs and if you read my reply it was something along the lines of yours, LOL.
    (beginning from bottom post)

    And yes, you’re right; Peter O’Brian was like a mythical person. At some stage I remember thinking his bad tats (tattoos) made him look like some sleazy sailor, haha.

    I still feel the same way about the white chick who played the lead in “Lady Terminator”. Who was she? where did she go? I’d love to track her down and do an interview. And the German girl who was in “Mystics in Bali”.


    Thanks, mate. Very cool you guys here at IB are fans of Indo flicks! So am I and you bet there’s a couple more fans outside of IB! I know for a fact that every time the letterboxed Greek VHS is up for auction on eBay it goes for huge amounts of money! And of course I crave and fester on the films of Barry Prima and Suzanna (who sadly died recently) as well.

    Lastly, I gotta say I don’t quite agree with your reviewer; I don’t think the film ‘suffers from the cliche of “too much of a good thing”’. I think it’s just right. I would have given it top score. The absolutely only unfortunate thing imo is that O’Brian didn’t get to do more films in Indonesia.


  6. Hey Jack, I couldn’t agree with you more that it’s unfortunate that O’Brian didn’t make more Indo films, I could probably watch those all day.

    I’ve been considering re-reviewing this film (which I don’t usually do) because I think I have a little bit better perspective on it after seeing more of POB. It definitely deserves more than the 2 stars that I initially gave it.

    Also, thanks for posting the information about O’Brian. I’ve been trying to find more about him in the last few months, but unfortunately it seems like any updated info is scarce. Now it makes a lot more sense why he’s dubbed, since he’s playing an “American” character, and he’s actually from New Zealand.

    Again, thanks for stopping by and come back often.

  7. Hi Enemy,

    Yeah, well, we all change our perspective on things once we become more familiar with them so I fully understand. And I thought your review was well written and all I just didn’t quite agree with the rating.

    Sure, no problem, I’m just happy to spread “the good word”, LOL.

    About the dubbing: I honestly can’t tell you for sure why he’s dubbed in that film; Yes, it could be to make him sound American but then again Aussie and Kiwi actors are usually able to do an American accent quite well anyway. But then again, he probably wasn’t a trained actor so maybe he just couldn’t do it.

    However, the reason could also be the same reason all Hong Kong movies were dubbed until the early 1980s; The studios simply didn’t have the equipment and it was too expensive to record sound on set. Who knows.

    Thanks, Enemy. I’ve only been aware of this site for about 24 hours but it seems pretty cool so sure I’ll stop by again. And I’ll let y’all know if I uncover any other big news bits in the world of Mr. O’Brian, LOL.


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