Paskal: The Movie (2018) - Malaysia (Netflix)
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
“Operation Red Sea” meets “Wolf Warrior” gets a Malaysian production overhaul in “Paskal: The Movie”, directed by Adrien Teh and up and coming action star Hairul Azreen. With a big production budget (for Malaysian standard) to boot, Teh manages to make use of the vast sceneries and oceans showing Malaysian military pride and prowess. The main problem of the film lies in the script and acting whilst being overblown by the visceral action sequences and various gun-fu affair. Azreen shows that he is game enough to take the action lead role and together with Teh will make a much more satisfying martial arts extravaganza.
Hairul Azreen plays the Paskal who is on the verge of leaving the force after the death of his best friend and fellow Paskal and the ailing heath of his mother. Azreen is most probably the best thing to come out of a film with plenty of two dimensional characters throughout. The final fight scene allows Azreen to shines as he battles lead villain Henley Hii with martial arts prowess. However, Teh criminally underuse Azreen’s martial arts and instead resort to mostly gun fights for most of the duration. Hii lacks acting skills to hold together a demanding villain role. Chinese martial arts star Tiger Chen is wasted in an extended cameo and Jasmine Suraya Chin seems to be acting in another movie altogether as the widow.
All in all, “Paskal: The Movie” tries hard to lift Malaysian military pride in the veins of even bigger productions in “Operation Red Sea”, however the story and generic acting holds back the film from from going places. Still, it gave a much needed opportunity for Azreen to shine and as it stand, he is likely to be a future Malaysian action star is in the making.
I rated it 5/10