Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mael Lambong [2012]

Director: Ahmad Idham
Starring: Zizan Razak, Julianna Evans, Taiyudin Bakar, Shenthy Feliziana
Genre: Bullshit
Rating: General
Comment: "A good one to watch if you're in need of a headache..."

Notorious car transporter Mael Lambong (Zizan Razak) is in way over his head when Maria (Juliana Evans), a beautiful woman who claims to be a secret agent, hires him to aid her in her mission to protect a microchip from falling into the wrong hands. What begins as a straightforward escort mission turns into a nightmare for him when they somehow end up in his hometown, forcing him to revisit a depressing chapter of his life.

What to Expect
1. An interesting (enough) premise
2. Zizan not being Zizan (half the time, at least)
3. Exactly two crafted jokes, and one running joke
4. A sharp decline after the exposition
5. A notable fight scene
6. A movie made for a quick buck

What NOT to Expect
1. To get your money's worth
2. A huge departure from the likes of Hantu Bonceng
A waste
I did wonder if it's too late to publish this entry. Yes, Mael Lambong has been out for a week or two (I didn't bother to check), and I bet whatever demographic they're going for have all probably went to see it already. Hence the four million paycheck for Excellent Pictures, which by the way, is one hell of a misnomer, if you ask me. But hey, it's never too late for a little douchebaggery so here we go.

During the weeks leading up to us purchasing the ticket, I have seen the movie poster adorning the corridor walls of Cathay Damansara. I rolled my eyes when I saw the title, and I never got curious enough to find out anything else about the movie. I found out only minutes prior to watching it, who is this Mael Lambong and what he's about. Okay, now. The reason I'm stating this is just to let you know that I went in with zero expectations.

So if you were to call me out and ask, "Exactly what were you expecting?" the answer is "Absolutely nothing!". I knew I wasn't gonna get anything that would surpass anything Adam Sandler has ever done. I knew my sides weren't gonna split due to excessive laughter. But for a movie that calls itself a "Romantic-action-comedy" I just hoped that I wouldn't be bored stiff. So in what way could the movie disappoint me?

Every which way.

You see, I didn't completely hate the movie, nor did I walk out feeling like I was possessed by demons. I just find Mael Lambong to be so dull and almost humour-free, I'm a little amazed that nobody sued the studio for false advertising. Romantic action comedy my ass. Which is a shame because the movie started out pretty good, and I even cracked a smile thinking that this Mael Lambong character could have been pretty cool if more thought was put into the story.

But I digress. At the very least Mael Lambong felt like it could pass for a movie, and I was a bit surprised by Zizan's take on the character. No no. Nothing legendary here. But I gotta give him credit for not phoning in his performance, and how he didn't opt for the buffoon-on-crack persona (the kind made popular by Saiful Apek and the rest of the Senario gang). Note how he wears a pained expression on his face (explained later in the movie), and delivers his lines in an almost deadpan manner. He did it quite well.

Alas, it didn't stick.

By the time the exposition's over he was back to being Zizan Raja Lawak, when Juliana Evans' character came along, to be precise (for obvious reasons). But along with that, the best part about Mael Lambong (relatively speaking) also went out the window. You see, the production team opted for a more character-driven movie, instead of the same ol' crappy formula of pairing up "comedians" and have them shout their lines at each other.

Not that Mael Lambong was entirely devoid of that, but still it was memorable that Zizan didn't monkey around for the first ten minutes, and let the situational humour deliver the jokes for him. Which leads me to the only other good parts about the movie, all of which amounted up to roughly a minute out of its running time. Since I don't think it's worth it to go to the cinema just to find out what they are, I'm just gonna go ahead and spoil it for you;

There was a single running joke, and two crafted ones.

The running joke; In the beginning, the bad guy fired a gun at him. Mael Lambong rushed back to his car and floored the gas pedal, but in panic, he neglected to release the handbrake. He wailed away while Maria rolled her eyes and released it for him. The same thing happened a couple more times throughout the movie.

One of the two crafted jokes happened early in the movie, while we were being introduced to the titular character. They showed a woman begging a tow-truck guy to let her off, while the latter was all arrogant and told her that she should have paid her dues. But the moment he was about to get into his truck, he found Mael Lambong in the driver's seat, saying exactly what the tow-truck guy said to the woman. The tow truck was being towed. Get it? Get it?

The other one had to do with the origin of Mael's scar. There was this time when he got into a bit of a scuffle with his archenemy, Tiger. The fight scene was interspersed with shots of a fisherman working with a bladed contraption. Then Tiger got the better of Mael, and the latter was thrown towards the machine head-first, and there was a scream. Next thing we know, Mael was cut at his cheek, but it wasn't from the machine. When he fell, he actually fell into a basin full of fish, and he was cut by a fin.

Those were the only times when I laughed. But it doesn't matter whether I think it's funny or not. The point is, they were jokes. And that's all there was to the "comedy" part of the movie. As for the rest, it was just things like "It's funny because he talks to a stuffed tiger on his shoulder", or "It's funny because his every action is punctuated by a tiger's roar", etc. You know what, I'd rather just forget about them, and put the memories of Mael Lambong behind me.

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