Back to IndieWire

Brazilian Martial Arts Actioner “Besouro” Gets Name Change For USA Release; Now Streaming On Netflix As “The Assailant”

Brazilian Martial Arts Actioner "Besouro" Gets Name Change For USA Release; Now Streaming On Netflix As "The Assailant"

Oh my damn! So there I was breezing through my Netflix recommendations and came across a movie titled The Assailant that had an really familiar cover image.

I thought, nah, it can’t be… could it?

Yes! Yes it was, as I found out after I hit the play button and the film started.

Somehow we missed this last month, because a Canadian distribution company called Phase 4 Films, with partners here in the states, released the film in the USA on February 14th; and not only that, it’s actually streaming on Netflix RIGHT NOW, meaning, if you have a Netflix streaming account, you could be watching it RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already.

One small problem though (although it may not be much of a problem to you), it’s dubbed in English; so no Portuguese with English subtitles, which I prefer (that’s how I saw it a year ago or so). And the English-language dub is terrible IMHO; I’m sitting here playing it back, cringing. Although I’m only about 15 minutes in; maybe it gets better.

So if you can tolerate a shitty dub, you can watch Besouro… uh, I mean The Assailant (which completely nullifies the meaning behind the original Besouro title) right this minute. It’s in HD by the way, so you’ll at least enjoy a nice, crisp image on your TV screen.

Besouro was an Shadow And Act Film Find in 2009, with a trailer that thrilled just about everyone who saw it – or at least, piqued interest. So, we’ve been on this one for awhile now, alerting you to any and all opportunities to see the film, which never received a stateside release, aside from festival screenings here and there.

Long-time readers should be familiar enough with it, given the number of times I’ve talked about and plugged it.

I’ve seen Besouro… uh I mean The Assailant… twice, first on my computer screen; the second time in a theater, where it’s best seen, and I thoroughly enjoyed it on both occasions, and strongly recommend it.

As a reminder… the story goes… As essentially an action movie set in 1920s Bahia, and based on the life of a legendary capoeirista from Bahia who uses the power of Candomble to fight the harsh conditions which, even post-abolition, the black population endured in Brazil, Besouro tells the fantastic and fantastical story of a young Afro-Brazilian man who became a symbol throughout all of Bahia for his bravery and loyalty, in defending the persecuted and oppressed.

João Daniel Tikhomiroff directed what is/was one of Brazil’s biggest productions ever!

Huan-Chiu Ku who directed the fight sequences in films like Kill Bill and The Matrix, does the same here, as the film features spectacular stunt sequences, with a soundtrack that includes Gilberto Gil.

So, here’s your chance to see it if you have not. Albeit horribly dubbed.

Watch the thrilling trailer below:

This Article is related to: News



I also caught this movie on netflix, and i didnot give a damn about the dubbing it could have been in any language and i would not have notice. Because when my eyes set on the lead character Beetle i fell in love at first sight! Now that is one fine brother, i have already watched this movie three times just to see his handsome face, oh! and the movie itself was great too (smile). I have already order my very own copy from Amazon, can't wait to get it in my hands. Maybe i need to move to Brazil, if they have some fine man like Beetle played by Ailton Carmo. Well i give this movie a perfect 10, and not for just the acting it is a great movie and a must see people…


I watched this with my son last night on netflix. We loved it, but I was thinking, I wish I could see the original Portuguese, because I agree…the dubbing was cringe-worthy. Do you know where we could find the original?


Great film! I caught it at the Newport Beach Film Festival (Orange County, CA) last year. It also played at Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles) last month. Well worth checking out!


I loved this film (as well as all things afro brazilian), thanks for posting. Although the dubbing really killed it so much so that i would rewatch it with subtitles, the story and production was crazy as well as the capoiera. The scenery and cinematography were so beautiful.


I've seen the original version of this film numerous times and cannot believe that its dubbed and the name is changed?!! An "assailant" is one who attacks another, and in this film Besouro was merely defending his maestre, himself, and community. The new title is very misleading and demonizing if you ask me, or maybe just "americanized". The simplistic beauty and spirituality of this film has made it one of my favorites of ALL time and I'm pretty ticked off about these unnecessary changes. Nevertheless, thank you for posting, and I will make an attempt to watch it on a gp/critique level.


Thanks for keeping Besouro alive. Just bought my DVD copy. Can't wait to get it.


SHAMEFUL renaming it the The Assailant — terrible, terrible name! Though it's no different than other foreign films being renamed.

One of the best films I've seen in quite so time. OH, how I'd LOVE to see more films like this (made) over here Stateside with an Africa theme.

I am lucky enough to own the DVD (Brazilian language with subtitles) that I bought from Amazon ($16.95) back in June 2011. I specifically have the "Brazil – [Official Slipcase Edition]"


I'm about to watch it right now.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *