Review: KL GANGSTER (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Review: KL GANGSTER (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

As of this writing, Syamsul Yusof's KL GANGSTER has upstaged NGANGKUNG (RM8.18 million) to become the highest-grossing local movie in the history with a whopping RM11.6 million after being screened in 81 theaters nationwide for the past three weeks. What a towering achievement for a local movie! Box office aside, KL GANGSTER is rare action picture that actually succeeds on delivering entertaining showcase of fight scenes and violence rivaled to those we normally seen in Thailand or Hong Kong martial art movies.

But shame about the plot, which also written by Syamsul Yusof, is lackluster. Here's how it goes: The movie begins with Malek (Aaron Aziz), who was once a very influential gangster in KL but ended up serving time in prison for 5 years. Upon release, all he cares the most is to change his life by finding a legitimate job while living with his friend Fadil (Zizan Raja Lawak). However, his brother Jai (Adiputra) is now making his way up as among the most fearless gangster working in KL under his boss named Dragon (Adam Corrie). In the meantime, Shark (Syamsul Yusof), the stepson of King (Ridzuan Hashim) wants to take down Dragon and his gang at all cost to reclaim back some of the territories they have ruled over all this while. So Shark invites Malek, who was once working with King back in their glory days, to join him in the gang. But Malek is not interested at all, even though King himself is making effort to lure him back as well. This immediately provokes Shark, who feels threatened by the presence of Malek. So he pays off enough money to Jai to lure him into his gang because he knows only Jai can make him the king of all gangsters in KL.

Apart from its simplistic plot, the movie also suffers with unintentionally laughable dialogues where all the gangsters here speak Malay in Cantonese accent. Now this leads me an all-important question: Does Malay gangsters really speak that way? The actors, in the meantime, including Aaron Aziz, Syamsul Yusof, Adiputra and Shoffi Jikan who plays Malek's best friend, Ajib are energetic even though their roles are superficial at best.

Still, the movie remains entertaining thanks to Syamsul Yusof's fast-paced direction. The fight scenes are of course the highlight of the movie here. Never before in a local Malay movie that the fight scenes which mostly depicted in close combats are fluid and agile. Too bad Yusof and cinematographer Omar Ismail ruins most of the fun with unnecessarily shaky cam.

Despite all the shortcomings, KL GANGSTER does shows some promise that a local action movie has a glimmer of hope in the Malaysian movie industry. It's not great by any means, but at least it's a fairly good start.

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