A film review: 'J-Revolusi' is a very cocky police picture about... something.

[Originally posted for Movie Addict Malaysia]
Origin: Malaysia · Languages: Malay, English
Director: Zulkarnain Azhar · Writer: Alfie Palermo
Genre: Action · Release: March 2, 2017

Casts: Zul Ariffin, Izara Aisyah, Farid Kamil,
Azad Jasmin, Nur Fazura

More info: IMDb

You can't deny it; we always strive to be something, be it for better or worse. And the year is 2017. Grand Brilliance is trying to show us its brilliance by producing a competition to another film of its kind (read: Polis Evo) called J-Revolusi, a police-themed action film that I didn't seem to anticipate. However, unlike its title, this flick is not quite the revolution our local action film actually deserved, but it's a rather futile attempt for even trying... to try their hardest.

Oh yeah. It's a SPOILER-FREE review.

Here's the plot. It's about Jay (Zul Ariffin), the leader of Unit Tindak Khas or Special Forces Unit  / UTK who is left alive every time he tried to save his sister Dian (Fazura) that seldom went missing-in-action since an operation he lead had a complication. The mastermind behind the botched operation is a dealer from the criminal underworld who went by Andra (Farid Kamil) and he have ulterior motives that proved to be a threat to national security. It is up to Jay and his partners Herman (Azad Jasmin) and Eddie (Izara Aisyah) to resolve that conflict before it's too late.

In order to justify its P13 rating, they had to build the plot around the theme of family and togetherness. I think that was included  to induce some sort of emotional weight, but the thing is, even this was not stressed enough despite the film's rather serious tone as it often times forces audiences to cry while watching supposedly touching flashback scenes. As if it's already not serious enough, the film's dialogue even dared to try and sound natural up to a point where I thought they were spewing dictionary definitions or something.

If you think the plot is bonkers, the subplots are even worse. It even dared to introduce a subplot about a virus which was kinda suggesting a science fiction-esque storyline that they didn't bother to expand. Everything was so sub par, including its action sequences which did have some epic moments that was not utilised to the fullest; it ended up being totally flat. I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing did! I do, however, appreciate its Mission: Impossible homage that sort  of worked - but they overdid it with too much referencing.

Wanna know why these happened? I'd really like to blame it's cinematography that forced itself to look cool by inserting unnecessary fast-cuts and zoom-pans. They really wasted their Polis Evo director of photography's talents here (but one can't deny the sharpness and even lighting throughout its visuals; gotta give credit where it's due). And these was accompanied by an epic music score (yes, I'm not being sarcastic; it truly was epic!) that was trying to say, "PLEASE, FEEL SOMETHING dear audience! This is a freaking emotional and/or effective scene for crying out loud!"

Despite these shortcomings, its acting department is not entirely terrible. I really think that leading man Zul Ariffin could really show off his action movie chops if he was given the right script, though I'm not so sure about him as a dramatic actor, even though the started of as one (please tell me if he's actually good as a dramatic actor and is able to emote; I never followed his work). Izara Aisyah as a supporting actress is also quite acceptable; she's like half damsel-in-distress, half femme fatale. Even Azad Jasmin brought his best as a laid-back comic relief with sly punchlines, akin to the characterisation of Inspector Sani from Polis Evo, which gives this very self-serious film a slight chuckle. However, those who really shine in this film are these people: Iedil Putra and Farid Kamil. Iedil Putra surprised me a hell lot; his performance was more 'involving' when compared to his previous films. Farid Kamil as the main baddie? He nailed it good as a textbook cocky antagonist. The not-so-good one here is Fazura's character; her motivations and demeanor seemed off for me.

In the end, J-Revolusi's laughable script and plot are better of being passed off as a B-movie. Why this isn't so is anybody's guess. It took itself too seriously. It feels like a mishmash and a "conclusion" of every police-themed films ever created. It's an ambitious popcorn film that aimed high but missed the mark by a huge margin. It's recommended for newbies for the action genre, but not for those who knows what a good actioner looks like. 

P/S: The film's U-Mobile product placement was rather cheeky though. 

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