- Three men obsess about a woman amid finding time to race in estates
- A boring film is saved by its sympathy for the lower class and Jehan Miskin’s performance
SEPAH The Movie is so rife with problems that it’s easy to dismiss this comedy as a film wanting to cash in on the popularity of the real-life Sepah comedic trio.
However, the films’s heart is in the right place, that is, it’s so strongly behind the lower class in its desire to thumb its nose at the rich. Just when it looks like the rich will get their way, the film pulls the rug from under their feet.
Also, the performance of Jehan Miskin as a villainous buaya darat (womaniser) who will stop at nothing to win deserves praise.
It’s easy to call him a pretty face, but his character is the only one in the film who’s having fun and instilling an iota of tension in the plot. Without him, the film would have sunk lower than Cinta Beruang, PE3 and Lagenda Budak Setan 2.
Director M.P. Roslin Md Sharif’s film follows the exploits of three men — Jep, Shuib and Mamat — who are childhood friends and are now working in the storeroom of an electronic factory.
The three live together in a modest home and their lives revolve around motorcross racing. I’m not sure how much they make at the factory, but I doubt if it’s enough to sustain their passion.
The men meet the woman of their dreams in the form of Ayu Sofea (Anzalna Nasir), a new trainer at the factory.
Viewers are first introduced to her by way of a slow-motion medium shot from the side. Roslin telegraphs his intention early on to portray Ayu as a layu.
The guys fight among themselves over whom will get to date her, but their intentions are thwarted by the handsome sneakiness of Based (Jehan), a manager at the factory.
Based is also a racing enthusiast, but his methods of winning are downright dirty. He’s also keen to step on the three men at every opportunity.
The acting of the Sepah boys is embarrassing. They fight with each other in ways that I can describe only as childish. However, they also exhibit care for each other, something rarely seen in Malaysian films, when one of them is injured in a race with Based’s gang.
A couple of them have this annoying habit of shaking their heads in double takes.
But the most surprising thing in this film is when Shuib spouts love quotes from Shakespeare; in fact, he does it three times.
The film’s jokes fall flat (90 per cent of the time), the acting is appalling (except for Jehan) and the cinematography is mediocre, but, as I said in the beginning, the film’s heart is with the underclass.
The boys pursue Ayu with zeal, but their hearts are crushed when they learn that she’s engaged to Based. Viewers will see the fathers of Ayu and Based arranging this relationship just as a means to expand their businesses.
Ayu, of course, doesn’t get a say in whom she marries. I had noticed this trend in Malaysian films earlier but I can now say with conviction that this film is merely reflecting how Malaysians see women: a commodity.
Jep goes to Ayu’s bungalow (more like a palace) to warn her about Based’s wandering loins, but he’s humiliated by her father and Based’s strong arms.
Jep then disappears for a week and doesn’t inform his friends about this. This part doesn’t make sense. Also, in the film’s reality, could he afford to go on leave without pay for a week?
The racing scenes get your heart racing a few times, but the film’s use of loud, heavy metal music during these scenes is annoying.
So, while Sepah could easily have ended up in the tong sampah (dustbin), its sympathy for the underdog is heartwarming.
2 out of 5
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