Sunday, September 15, 2013

KL Gangster 2 [2013]

Director: Syamsul Yusof
Writer: Syamsul Yusof
Starring: Aaron Aziz, Syamsul Yusof, Adi Putra, Shoffi Jikan, Zizan Razak, Rosyam Nor
Genre: Action
Rating: General
Verdict: "Twice the action, twice the gebang, twice the incoherence..."

Synopsis
"Boom dush bang lu gua lu gua terretetete boom lu gua lu dush dush dush."
- Ammar Hilman, a YouTube user.

What to Expect
1. Unorganised crime
2. Origin of Shark's atrocious accent
3. More shouting
4. More cartoonish and flashier gangsters
5. Good set pieces
6. Glossy visuals
7. Wealthiest gangsters evar!

What NOT to Expect
1. Finesse
2. Subtlety
3. A protagonist
More of the same thing, and most likely will not win it any new fans
Review
MUCH LIKE ITS PREDECESSOR, KL GANGSTER 2 IS LOUD, IF NOT LOUDAAARRR!!!

I SUPPOSE IN MANY WAYS, THEY SUCCEEDED IN DOING WHAT THEY SOUGHT TO DO, AND THAT IS TO BREAK ITS OWN RECORDS. NOW, AS FAR AS BOX OFFICE INTAKE IS CONCERNED, THAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN FOR I DON'T HAVE THE FIGURES!!! GUA BUKAN ABANG LONG FINAS, MANA GUA TAU!!!

BUT WHAT I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW IS THAT KL GANGSTER 2 BROKE THE RECORD OF TAKING THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME TO GIVE ME A MIGRAINE!!!

Probably worse than the one this guy woke up with...
I HAD HALF A MIND TO WRITE THIS WHOLE REVIEW WITH THE CAPS LOCK ON, JUST SO I CAN PROPERLY CONVEY THE EXPERIENCE I HAD.

But I think I'll spare you guys the migraine. Truth be told, I really didn't want to knock on this movie. In fact, I didn't go into it with the intention of slamming it, despite not being a fan of the first one. I saw the trailer and was somewhat impressed. But problems I had with KL Gangster [2011] quickly resurfaced barely ten minutes into this prequel.

"Realistic" was among the words used to describe the first KL Gangster. I for one disagree. Both of these movies are only about as realistic as a reality TV show, which is to say not really, if at all. You see, KL Gangster is what you will get if you make an actual reality TV show about gangsters, but edit out EVERYTHING except for the trash talks and the fights. Also, if the producers employ the use of a faaabulous fashion consultant.


All right, let's say it's really meant to be seen that way. Well, I'd still have a problem with it. Reality TV shows tend to be twenty-three-minute shows for a reason. Imagine watching a hundred-and-ten minute reality TV show with nothing but angry people beating each other up. Not even Gordon Ramsay can pull that off. Now, I don't know if that's your thing, but it's certainly not mine.

Before you go on thinking that I have a disdain for action flicks, I'll have you know that it's actually the opposite; action is my favourite genre. My two favourite movies of all-time are Terminator 2 [1991] and Predator [1987], in that order. I guess what I'm saying is, you can try to blind me with as many intricately-choreographed action as you want, but I'll be able to see through the flash most of the time, and I'd be numb to it all if I don't see the point.

Simply put, waaayyy too much emphasis was given to the visuals and the action. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially given how the movie has no pretense over what it really is; escapism akin to Grand Theft Auto.


Which could have been fine, and I would have been willing to play along provided that we are given a reason as to why we should care about any of the characters to begin with. A reason why we should root for or against anyone. I'm not asking for The Shawshank Redemption-level of human drama here, but just some basic understanding as to why the characters do what they do.

But NOOOOOO!!! Syamsul Yusof couldn't seem to wait to get right into the action scenes, KL Gangster 2 ended up being just about how much action (and trash talk) they can cram in there. To his credit, he does have a good eye for action. The point I'm making here is there was too great a disparity between how much thought went into the writing and how much went into the action.

In this respect, I have to say that its predecessor was a better movie.

Adi Putra's wardrobe (or lack thereof) was better too... Ladies.
The "bigger and better" credo for this prequel also worked against it in another important aspect; the protagonist was drowned amidst the, for lack of a better term, boom dush bang lu gua lu gua terretetete boom lu gua lu dush dush dush. You see, I've always assumed that Malek (Aaron Aziz) is the protagonist here, but chances are you'll forget all about him until the beginning of the third act (I'm being very charitable with this term).

As a result, KL Gangster 2 was just things happening on screen. Just because.

What's that? An ensemble cast? Err, no. The closest thing to characters were only Malek and Jai (Adi Putra). The rest were just cardboard cutouts of how Syamsul Yusof thinks gangsters look, talk and behave like. A lil' something he inherited from his dad, I suppose.

You can judge a book by its cover!
While we're on the subject, a round of applause for Rosyam Nor, who brought much needed charisma to a movie like KL Gangster 2. Granted, his character was just as one-dimensional as the rest of them, and much of his villainy was established via ass-kicking alone, which wasn't menacing enough in my book. But still, he brought something to the table, you know? He outvillained all the villains through his acting alone, and it gave us a real sense as to who's the ultimate bad guy in a movie full of assholes.

Another glaring problem I had with KL Gangster 2 was how it didn't abide by its own rules. This is not strictly-speaking a spoiler, 'cause it's out there for everyone to see in the trailer. You see, I had already coaxed myself into believing that both KL Gangster movies are set in an alternate universe where Kuala Lumpur is ten times more dangerous than it is today, and the police are powerless against all these barely-comprehensible imbeciles.


This can be inferred when you see Shark show the SMG-wielding police officer no respect whatsoever. What happens next catches me by surprise, but it affirms my belief; in this alternate universe, Kuala Lumpur shares a similar fate to Banlieue-13. For some reason, capital punishment no longer exists, and this is a world with no real repercussions even if you go trigger-happy in broad daylight.

So whatever happens to Malek in the end must be quite a plot twist, right? Well, don't hold your breath. All I can say is it shoots my theory out of the water. I won't say what it is because, well, spoiler!

But hey, why so serious, right? After all, it's just an escapism movie.


Just not for me. If things were handled with more finesse, I might have enjoyed it more. But I couldn't look past the blatantly one-note feel, and how repetitive it was. Which is too bad, really. Because beyond all that are action scenes that deserve praise. But that migraine I mentioned earlier wasn't a figure of speech. I really had one, and it wasn't worth it.

5 comments:

Halle Calypso said...

my mind was 'yelling' when i read the capslock text. geez.. nasib kejap je. anyway, tereteteteteee was my favourite word for today. hahaha...

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

I'm not exaggerating, Alin. The whole movie was like that. LOL

Anonymous said...

Please review your English. It is so terrible.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Yes, sir/ma'am.
Admittedly, my English is still a work in progress.

Blog Panduan Batin Suami Isteri said...

Filem ini dah kena cetak rompak sebelum di tayang? Kejam betul. Merosakkan periuk nasi orang je. Cuba la fikir sikit susah payah orang yang buat filem tu...betul tak?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This!