“PETALING STREET WARRIORS”《大英雄，小男人》Movie Review. Maybe it’s time to “Send in the Clowns”.
“PETALING STREET WARRIORS”
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.
DIRECTOR JAMES LEE SAYS:
“It has been an exhilarating first-time experience directing a Martial Arts Comedy with SAMPSON YUEN and Action Director MA YUK-SING.”
PRESS CONFERENCE PHOTOS, courtesy of FRANK TIAN:
THE CAST,DIRECTOR AND ACTION CHOREOGRAPHER TEAM UP FOR A GROUP SHOT. CO-DIRECTOR JAMES LEE IS CONSPICUOUSLY MISSING.
YEO YANN YANN AND MARK LEE BEAM FOR THE CAMERA.
“YOU REALLY MUST COME AND WATCH THIS MOVIE. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!”
“KUNG FU FIGHTING ……. Ahhhhh!”
FREDERICK LEE MING ZHONG cites:
“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 EUNUCH” + FILM DIRECTOR
THE MOVIE TRAILER
THE MUSIC VIDEO
The ever capricious Malaysian Singer NAMEWEEshows you that even HIP HOP can happen in 1908 at PETALING STREET. Enjoy!