Wira (2019) - Malaysia
As part of the ongoing Film Critics - Martial Arts series - “Discovering the world of Martial Arts cinema”
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
One of the most exciting Martial Arts rising star in South Asia comes in the form of Malaysian Hairul Azreen. Combining with director and producer Adrian Teh for the second time, Azreen excels with plenty of physical presence and is right at home whenever a fight gets brutal and tough. It is the kind of demeanour and intensity that made Iwo Uwais a big action drawcard. This is really a big budget for Malaysian standard, to showcase the talent of Azreen with plenty of high octane fight sequences all adding up to a grand finale of a mixed martial arts affair. For long time action fans, this got to be a joy to endure.
Hairul Azreen brings that kind of B-Movie action charm to the genre that made the 90s Hong Kong cinema so well known. Azreen is trained professionally with black belt in Tae Kwon Do, convinces with the plentiful MMA fight scenes one after another. Paired with tough heroine Fify Azmi playing his embattled sister l, together takes the Raja gangsters for a ride for their money. With the story in auto play to provide the excellent action on display, veteran actor Dato' Hilal Azman is wonderful as the stubborn activist and father. Ismi Melinda and veteran stuntman Yayan Ruhian gives the leading duo more than a good fight to boot. Dain Said as Raja is comically entertaining as lead villain crime boss.
All in all, “Wira” may lack the necessary plot line, but it excels in its simplicity. Action films like these are great for throwaway entertainment for action genre fans and with plenty of quality MMA fight scenes, one on one grand finale and great stunts on display, “Wira” is easily one of the better Malaysian action film and making director Adrien Teh and star Azreen, a duo to watch out for.
I rated this 7.5/10