Evolusi KL Drift 2
A while back, TMBF and a few of his colleagues found themselves listening to KRU's "Awas." One of them enthused about the first time he heard that song, saying, "It made me feel like Malaysian music has finally made it." Pretty funny of him to say that now, when "Awas" sounds exactly like the incredibly cheesy and dated piece of '90s hip-hop that it is - but y'see, us Malaysians are very insecure. We want so much to be as good as the rest of the world that we can be very forgiving of any token attempt at it. Hence the various enthusiastic reactions to the trailer of Evolusi KL Drift 2. They saw the car stunts and the Mazda RX-7 getting totaled and cried, "Fwoar, this is Hollywood-quality action man! Malaysian movies have finally made it!"
Sigh. No. No, they haven't. And no, it isn't.
After the events of Evolusi KL Drift, Zack (Syamsul Yusof) is now a professional drifter, while Sham (Farid Kamil) - now disabled with a crippled leg - works on his crew. Zack befriends Aleya (Scha Al Yahya), another drifter, but this arouses resentment in Sham, whose dreams of drifting ended with his injury. Meanwhile, vicious drug dealer Joe (Aaron Aziz) is still at large, and this time he is joined by Ery (Shaheizy Sam), who shares his grudge against Zack. Inspektor Kamal (Remy Ishak) wants Zack's cooperation to bring Joe down, but Zack just wants to let bygones be bygones - even as Joe and Ery plot to wreak bloody revenge against him.
Wahai Tuan Penulis Lakonlayar Syamsul Yusof, please learn the meaning of "on-the-nose dialogue" - 'cos good Lord, your movie is full of it. Everyone in this movie says exactly how they feel and exactly what the movie wants you to think, in suspiciously proper Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka-approved sentences to boot. It sounds bloody unnatural. Now, En. Syamsul might give the usual "ini filem untuk orang biasa, bukannya orang yang banyak berfikir, ini filem yang mudah difahami" excuse. The thing is, if you make it too mudah difahami, you inadvertently convey something entirely different from what you intended. Ko sedar tak movie ko ni homoerotic gila babi??
I'm talking about Zack and Sham. Those two are gay. Zack keeps going on and on about how Sham is his best friend and how much he values Sham's support, and he's so conscientious and sensitive to Sham's dejection over his leg. And when he starts to beromen with Aleya, Sham merajuk like a girlfriend who got dumped. They have an honest-to-goodness lovers' spat in front of all their friends. Then later they make up over the phone, telling each other how sorry they are, while emotional music plays in the background. This. Is. Gaaaaaayyy. This is what happens when you write dialogue that's absolutely nothing like the way close male friends (who don't want to kongkek each other) actually talk.
When Joe and Ery pay a visit to Zack's workshop and point a gun at Zack's head, one of Zack's friends has this brilliantly insightful comment on the incident: "Aku rasa Joe tak puas hati lah." Later, when Joe frames Zack and has him on the run from the cops, Sham thinks, "Aku rasa Zack berada dalam bahaya sekarang." Eh, ya tak ya jugak kan?? Nasib baik ko cakap, kalo tak, manalah kita tau?? The movie is full of incredibly lazy writing, which means the plot is as bad as the dialogue. Joe and Ery confront Kamal, point guns at him, have a fight scene, do not kill him for some reason, and later Kamal still says he lacks the evidence to arrest Joe. Zack and Aleya have a rendezvous at some deserted alley, and then tetiba je Ery shows up, somehow knowing they'd be there. Why? Because it's time for (another) car chase!
Which brings us to the action scenes. Wahai Tuan Pengarah Syamsul Yusof, a good car chase, like any good action scene, has beats. There are moves, counter-moves, tactics, reversals; a good action scene is a mini-story in itself. Your car chase scenes are just one car speeding after another - nothing else happens. (Except that they drift a lot. A lot. If you were to play a drinking game based on every time a car does a drift, you'd need really big glasses.) I know you have two big crashes and a car roll scene, and that about blew your budget for vehicular carnage - but it just means your action scenes are all climax, no foreplay. And the incessant shaky-cam and quick-cutting started to make my head hurt after a while. Yes, I can watch the films of Paul Greengrass without flinching, but the difference is, Greengrass actually knows what he's doing. Syamsul main lantak je.
But the acting proves quite entertaining, especially from the villains. Aaron Aziz is quite good with the badass posturing, but Shaheizy Sam steals the show as Ery - who, curiously, has a very Cinapek accent. I have previously mentioned my disdain for Malay movies casting Malay actors in non-Malay roles, but somehow Shaheizy makes it work; he makes Ery a guy of indeterminate ethnicity who just happens to speak that way. Scha Al Yahya was awful in Papadom, but she's surprisingly good here; the exaggeratedly tomboyish Aleya just seems like a natural fit for her. Farid Kamil, however, is as wooden as ever. And Tuan Pelakon Utama Syamsul Yusof is a pretty okay actor, although again, his screenplay didn't do his character any favours. Zack comes across as quite the Mary Sue, what with the one too many instances of people enthusing over what an awesome drifter he is.
No, it's not a good movie at all, but it is unintentionally entertaining enough to get two stars from me. It's hopelessly cheesy, right down to the shameless product placement. (Motul and Toyo Tires, you guys totally got your money's worth.) Now, Hollywood action movies like The Fast and the Furious series, which this film is totally riding the coattails of, are plenty cheesy too, so does that justify Evolusi KL Drift 2? No it doesn't, for two reasons: one, as dumb as those movies are, there is at least a bare minimum of logic and realism to their storylines that this movie lacks. And two, those aren't good movies. If Syamsul wants to make Hollywood-quality action films, he should aim higher. Dude, jangan marah my snarkiness, gua respek lu sebenarnya for what you're attempting. By all means, give it another shot - but first, please, learn how to write.
NEXT REVIEW: It's Complicated
Expectations: not much