Rempit Movie: Separuh Jalan ~ That Movie Blogger Fella

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rempit Movie: Separuh Jalan

V3: Samseng Jalanan
My rating:

It's not a sequel, to either Remp-It or Remp-It V2. That much is clear from the opening scenes of V3: Samseng Jalanan, in which the main characters are seen at a movie theatre watching Remp-It. So, a "spiritual sequel" then. But why has this never been mentioned? Why has none of the media reports about this film said anything about it? You'd think there'd be people interested to know if this were a proper sequel - say, fans who cared about the characters from the previous installments, who might want to see their stories continued. But that's the problem with the local film industry - sometimes the actual product itself is the last thing on anybody's mind.

Maybe the quality of the actual product - or lack thereof - has something to do with it.

Rudy (Farid Kamil) and Brett (Bront Palarae) flee their hometown of Alor Setar when a road accident claims the lives of two of their friends. Arriving in KL broke and aimless, they befriend Lan Ribut (Radhi OAG), who hooks them up with bikes from Sam Seng (Adam Corrie Lee) and the illegal racing circuit organised by Garing (Aqasha); meanwhile, Rudy meets Lisa (Intan Ladyana) when he accidentally runs into her car door. But Garing races dirty, and soon Rudy and Brett owe him more money than they have. With his vicious henchwoman Kamsah (Lisa Surihani) in tow, Garing aims to collect, one way or the other.

This is not a good movie. It is faaaar from a good movie. But if there's one thing it's got going for it, it's earnestness. I get the impression that most of the principals involved had the intent and the vision to make something good, and were really putting in their best. Which is why I find myself in the curious position of not despising this film as much as I do most Malay movies - despite the shameless overacting, the nonsensical plot, the tacked-on "pengajaran", the "romantic" scene that borders on sexual assault, the presence of Cat Farish, the beyond lame ending, and the occasional out-of-focus shot. Not soft focus - that'd be an intentional directorial choice. Out. Of. Freaking. Focus.

Yes, these guys did their best, but it just ain't good enough. For all their sincerity, they are lacking in some basic filmmaking skills, and nowhere is that more evident than in the storyline. So many things just don't make sense, and really, I'm tired of writing reviews that just list one plot hole after another. Now, given the fact that Rudy and Brett speak in loghat Kedah, and everyone else yells their dialogue at the top of their voices, it could be that I just missed several key plot details. Thing is, this synopsis makes a lot more sense than the movie, so I'm inclined to think that director Farid Kamil and his co-writer Shoffi Jikan simply lack the diligence to fill in the gaps in their narrative and make sure it makes sense. Them and sooooo many others in our local film industry.

About a week after this movie was released, this came out in the news. And while I'm quite pleased that they no longer snip out harsh language from 18-rated films (seriously, they don't anymore, it's great), this goes back to their usual brand of facepalm. Dear Censorship Board, you think a rempit movie in which the rempits get arrested, die, or "bertaubat" at the end is going to discourage rempits from illegal racing? V3: Samseng Jalanan is a film that meets with your rulings - but it also has fast-paced racing scenes, montages of our hero Rudy lovingly building his racing machine, and a villainous racer who is perpetually surrounded by scantily-dressed skanky hos. Of course it glorifies the illegal racing culture!

But I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Hey, I think street racers are a menace on our roads too, but I don't believe that a film should pull double duty as a tool for social edification. Rempits and street racers are a reality in our society, and films should reflect reality - even if they end up exploiting it. (And yes, this is totally an exploitation film.) A story needs to be true to itself, and if it aims to make a hero out of a mat rempit racer, then so be it. What it doesn't need is some tut-tutting old biddy viewing the rough cut and forcing the filmmakers to "selitkan unsur-unsur pengajaran" into it. That was probably why this movie ends right at the big action climax, then some supers tell us that all the bad guys were arrested and all the good guys go on to lead law-abiding lives. Freaking. Supers.

Anyway, you're probably wondering why I'm giving this two stars instead of my customary one-and-a-half for crappy Malay movies. I said that this movie is earnest, and I meant it. The cast give it their all, including Lisa Surihani who scowls quite effectively in her Dark Action Girl role (even though she doesn't actually have any scenes where she kicks ass, so she comes across as a Faux Action Girl). On the other hand, Farid Kamil is kayu macam tiang rumah kampung. I'll give him this much though - his directorial debut is a fair bit better than most local productions, so the evidence suggests that he's a somewhat better director than he is an actor. As long as he keeps the goddamn camera in goddamn focus.

Expectations: highly looking forward to it


Dzof said...

Dude. You're so much more entertaining when you review bad films. You actually make me want to watch V3 just to see the out-of-focus shots.

And the skanky hos too, I guess.

TMBF said...

Not worth it. The skanky hos are really skanky. It may've been FINAS at work again - to ensure the illegal racing lifestyle doesn't look too enticing, make sure the bohsias are all tak lawa langsung.

chicnchomel said...

again i ask of you, WHYYYYYYY, just give up on local films already. malas nak mampus.

fadz said...

best siot review ko, buat aku tak yah tgk V3, thx. but serious, pls do watch our local movies, sekurang2nya aku tak yah tgk, hehehe