Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Jalang (2009)

"Hi. I'm a slut. I fuck Datuks to close business deals."
At a glance:
What a disaster! Are there nostalgic apologists out there among our Malaysian filmmakers who thought this movie would be a good idea to reinstate the word that was dropped more than 15 years ago in U-Wei's Perempuan, Isteri Dan... ? If you bravely open a movie with a Koranic verse as part of the title card i.e. Surah Al-Isra Verse 32 ("And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a great sin and an evil way"), then you really ought to make that movie somethin really substantial and far-reachin. Unfortunately, not only is the final product lackin in any academic credentials, it's also a hollow attempt at didactic values. Its original fierce title Taubat Jalang: Neraca Dunia sounds like an epic moral struggle but the movie ain't much more than a Langkawi adventure about a young corporate woman who likes fuckin Datuks to close business deals.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Yasmin Khanif badly miscast.
What's truly shockin about Jalang is that the 21-year-old lead actress entrusted with this titular burden is neither proverbially nor physically capable at executin it. Yasmin Khanif's Arabic-Malay-Pakistani pedigree gives her somethin towards gettin the looks down but this maiden role is heavily blighted by laughable over-actin, under-actin and well, basically actin - she's all to obvious as someone who just walked onto the set. We can be kinder to someone who's new to the industry. What we can't accept is how a substantial project like Jalang gets greenlit with an unrealistic theatre script that anybody who has ever been to a cinema can point out to be a bad TV movie? O the shame. Not only do we get an ineffective script, we waste a cast that can be formidable if given the right treatment. Hairie Othman's (Leftenan Adnan, 2000) return to the limelight surely disappoints anybody who knows his calibre. In Jalang, he plays Ben Adam, the whore's best friend who offers a way out. Too bad his effort ain't matched by Yasmin Khanif. Another old hand, Faizal Hussein (XX Ray, 1992) gets wasted in a five-minute fight as a drug pusher. However, the fact that he was so memorable in this five minutes ("Hei, kamu ingat saya jual baja taik ayam ke, hah?") goes to show how grossly uneven this movie is and that director Nazir Jamaluddin could've been more creative with his resources. Thankfully, some actors like Yank Kassim (woman-hatin PI with a score to settle) was brave enough to go OTT with a strangely entertainin performance as villain Ali Topan.
Watch out for:
Yasmin Khanif's horrible actin. The makers could've at least played up some sex. Then again, stretch marks on her breasts were visible, so what's there to sell, eh?

Most memorable line:
"Maria, kenapa ni? Kenapa malu-malu? After all, ini bukannya first time.."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
his ain't the end of the road. New production house De Baron have many more projects to come, the most eye-catchin bein Datin Ghairah, a movie that follows Jalang at least in terms of shock value movie-titlin. Yasmin Khanif will also have a second chance to improve her act with Blues Untuk Aku, another upcomin title. As for Jalang, it deserves somethin for Ali Topan, I guess.
Bonus material:
Close enough to where it belongs.