Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“PETALING STREET WARRIORS”《大英雄,小男人》Movie Review. Maybe it’s time to “Send in the Clowns”.




No pun intended, just “send in the clowns”.

American composer Stephen Sondeim says so in his famous 1973 song from the hit musical ‘A Little Night Magic’.

“Send in the Clowns” uses the medium of music to brilliantly illustrate about how you can grab life by the horns.

It’s stark humor and it suggests that if your show isn’t going as well as it should, then it may be time to “send in the Clowns”.

Now, who are the clowns?

“PETALING STREET WARRIORS” is one classic example.

You just have to strip away the immaculate make-up to unearth this cranky parable with an odd-ball name, dwelling on an infamous tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur dated a century back.

More than meets the eye?


“PETALING STREET WARRIORS” is positioned as a helluva screwball comedy that Malaysians and Singaporeans would love to sink their teeth into, to unload their emotional baggage after a hard day’s grind.

What do people do when they are stressed?

An option would be to go to the cinema, pick a good comedy and get tickled pink.

Hilarity wins at the end of a long day.

Everybody loves a madcap genre where you are treated to huge doses of action versus laughter. We forget our blues and are willingly transported to neverland.

Essentially a Kung Fu spoof  - as in the case of “PETALING STREET WARRIORS”, it is ace Hong Kong Martial Arts Choreographer MA YUK-SING who’s responsible for bringing this movie up to the fore.

MA displays his professional dedication in no small measure.

He stylizes and livens the pace of the movie.

He accomplishes a splendid job of nailing the action scenes together with concrete realism.

He cajoles and instructs actors who can barely fight by taking them through the necessary combat stances and patiently guiding them to deliver the pow-wow action sequences – layer upon layer. No mean feat, for a fact.

Yes, MA succeeds – as the action scenes in “PETALING STREET WARRIORS” speak for themselves, reeking of raw touches of a similar themed film called “KUNG FU HUSTLE” by STEPHEN CHOW.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we learn.

Fierce combats and stunts are conjured to look strikingly “authentic” and is an enthralling visual feast for the eyes.

The film may drip with corny dialogue and action, but assuredly you will lap up the crazy fighting stunts amid the guffaws galore.

If you care to google, you would have noticed that the original public announcement pointed out that JAMES LEE was to helm the movie.

Now when the film is completed, JAMES has another competent director to shoulder responsibilities as well as to share the limelight.

Executive producer SAMPSON YUEN expounds proudly that he is in talks with overseas investors who are keen to distribute the film. Meanwhile on home ground he espies hopefully, a box office taking of 8 million ringgit.

Nothing is impossible, given the quality of action versus spoof and one laugh-out-loud script. You can say it’s a lot better than any deplorable Hong Kong screeching comedy.

An impressive line-up of veterans such as YEO YANN YANN, MARK LEE, FREDERICK LEE and CHRIS TONG add character and depth to this martial arts spoof.

You see, it’s the action that speaks louder than the words.

But you best be your better judge.

Lights, camera, action!

Now, here’s the storyline:

In 1908 Petaling Street is anything but a safe abode.  The place is infested with corrupted colonial cops and triad leeches.

It is here that an unlikely married couple SEE (MARK LEE) and wife ZHUNG (YEO YANN YANN) run a Hokkien mee stall.

SEE is unkempt and unruly, albeit a compulsive gambler whilst ZHUNG is pretty and dutiful.

Both are putting up a brave front as they have yet to consummate their marriage due to SEE’s seemingly sexual health.

One fine day SEE discovers a Chinese seal embedded in his wife’s pillow and gambles it away.

ZHUNG is furious and moves out of the house to live with her cousin LIU KUN (NAMEWEE).

To woo ZHUNG back, SEE ropes in his friends and neighbors to set up a martial arts group to fight the triads.

Suddenly out of the blue a beguiling Kung Fu lady (CHRIS TONG) appears who insists that SEE is a descendant of the missing JIAN WEN, emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

At the same time, a powerful eunuch called MA FU (FREDERICK LEE) arrives with four imperial guards.  They are sent by the Empress CIXI to retrieve the treasure map, wherever it might be.

Bloody mayhem ensues when skilled fighters from Japan as well as from the Qing government congregate in Petaling Street to pursue SEE for a mysterious century old map he never knew he had.

Thank heaven that the use of “wirefu” and CGI are kept to a tolerable minimum in order to maintain a balance.

YEO YANN YANN and MARK LEE are commendable performers, but it is the presence of CHRIS TONG and LEE MING ZHONG, whenever they appear – they steal the thunder.

Pay enough attention, and you will notice that SINGAPORE’s ever popular gag-king cum cross-dresser JACK NEO does a cameo for friendship sake.

If you are a fan of STEPHEN CHOW mindless slapsticks, then this one will surely work on you.


“It has been an exhilarating first-time experience directing a Martial Arts Comedy with SAMPSON YUEN and Action Director MA YUK-SING.”





“KUNG FU FIGHTING ……. Ahhhhh!”


“This is my virgin big screen role and I play MA FU, a ballsy EUNUCH.  Gosh, I’ve to mimic this awful girlish voice for authenticity.”

Film Director SAMPSON YUEN and MA YUK-SING – Action Choreographer from Hong Kong.




The ever capricious Malaysian Singer NAMEWEEshows you that even HIP HOP can happen in 1908 at PETALING STREET.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

“OMBAK RINDU” Malaysian Movie Review. Uncover this MOVIE GEM amid the CRASHING WAVES.

The Indefatigable LOVE TRIANGLE:

MAYA KARIN plays IZZAH, a Kampong gal who goes to the big city and finds LOVE, MARRIAGE and ANGST.


 MILA (LISA SURHANI) wants things her way. She demonstrates what it is like to be a WOMAN SCORNED.

Of all pains, the greatest pain is to love, but love in vain.

BRONT PALARAE is MAEL, a typical KAMPONG BUDDY who carries an unrequited torch for IZZAH.



Surely you must have watched the ultimate movie  classic “CASABLANCA” if you are a die-hard romantic.

In that film, when the screen character Sam sings “the world will always welcome lovers” with a sad, soulful gusto, we hum along with the beat, beseeching ourselves that this world will forever be open to torrid romances.

What’s life without love?

Nothing, really.

“OMBAK RINDU” is one such gem that will touch your soul deeply.

Heaven forbid, it’s as though the ripples of the heart will “go on and on”. (sound familiar)?

“OMBAK RINDU” is supremely MALAY in its fine offering, and stripped of its outer layer, is faithfully translated as “LOVE AMID THE CRASHING WAVES”.

The genre is typical old-school romance where “the path of true love never will run smooth” expounding on a giddy-eyed love triangle.

The Asian Chinese community will swear that the famed Taiwanese novelist CHUNG YAO who, to this day, have had all of her literary works on doomed romances transcribed on the giant screen.

Over in MALAYSIA, author FAUZIAH ASHARI is beaming now, when her much anticipated screen adaptation is making the same waves.

You don’t have to be a hapless romantic to be swept away by this well-acted and superbly directed feature film by OSMAN ALI.  His treatment is emotively splendid.

He crafted the movie to tug at your heart-strings and this it surely does.

No expenses are spared for the scenic locales in order to achieve the natural lushness of Langkawi, Kedah and Southern Thailand. You’ll be treated with the breathtaking splendor of pristine beaches and hypnotic blue ocean. The entire film is painstakingly shot on 35 mm film format for authenticity, within a 45 day span.

Here’s a quick run on the story synopsis:

IZZAH (MAYA KARIN) is an innocent Kampong gal content with her idyllic rustic life as a village teacher.

She is tricked by her lecherous uncle under the pretext that the family needs money for her Aunt’s surgery. She is promptly sold to a brothel in Kuala Lumpur.

Her first customer is a wealthy playboy HARRIZ (AARON AZIZ).

IZZAH begs him to marry her as a way out of prostitution.

HARRIZ agrees with the intention of making her a kept woman.

But little does he know that when two people spend so much time together, feelings are bound to develop.

As time goes by, love grows and glows and HARRIZ the arrogant one falls head over heels for IZZAH.

The only snag is:  HARRIZ is engaged to his childhood sweetheart MILA (LISA SURHANI) and has to find a way out of the mess.

But MILA is a force to be reckoned with and she is determined to win him back, at all costs.

So how is HARRIZ going to get out of the emotional entanglement?

Beautiful performances by an all-star cast headed by MAYA KARIN, AARON AZIZ, LISA SURHANI and BRONT PALARAE.

There’s a gamut of emotions running high in this movie that will strike a chord in your heart.

So be armed with a pack of tissues should you go.

Be mesmerized by the charm of  this bitter-sweet love in “OMBAK RINDU”.

I, for one, am bedazzled.


“We are really HAPPY you did enjoy the MOVIE.”

(From LEFT)  Film Director OSMAN ALI and his FOUR LEADS.


“Here’s one for the camera. Cheeese!”



Sunday, November 20, 2011

“50/50″ MOVIE REVIEW. This BUDDY TALE is about a divine FRIENDSHIP.


Once in a while you'd get a THEATRICAL GEM about FRIENDSHIP.

“50/50″ is one such feature. This is the inference I draw from the Film:

Friendship is succinctly heartwarming.  More so, it’s a divine blessing that enriches our soul.

A staunch buddy is one whom we can let our hair down and be ourselves – no pretensions. We can wail and wallow in our sorrows without being accused of being self-piteous.

True friends allow you to unload your emotional and spiritual baggage, to let these flow unashamedly, and you don’t need to hold anything back.

Friends form the nicest people, to share a laughter and a tear.

Friends will rally around – when your entire world is threatening to fall apart.

Friends make us feel loved, respected and that we are not alone in this chaotic globe.

Now, what’s “50/50 all about?

It is a movie inspired by a true story about friendship, love, surviving a crisis and finding humor in unlikely places.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT and SETH ROGEN star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by JONATHAN LEVINE from a script by WILL REISER.

Writer WILL REISER had cancer before, it is a story largely based on his own experience with this deadly disease, reminding us that with friendship and love, no matter what bizarre turns we take, these are the greatest healers.

 ”50/50″ is everything  a smart, witty, entertaining crowd pleaser should be.

We are taken on a comedic journey to embrace the true meaning of life and friendship, and to uncover human and humorous touches in dire situations that we’ve often taken for granted.

It is a grim reminder that it’s great to be alive and that we should treasure the hours, the minutes and the person right in front of us. Right.

NO SPOILERS here, it’s a helluva great film.

In “50/50″, every actor does a beautiful job to color this dismal world.

GO WATCH IT for friendship sake.