Petaling Street Warriors (Chinese: 大英雄•小男人) (2011) is the first period kungfu comedy to be produced locally in Malaysia and Singapore. Yuk-sing Ma (马玉成) from Hong Kong serves as action choreographer.
According to Wikipedia, this movie is inspired by a controversial legend about Emperor Jianwen of Ming Dynasty, who is rumored to have fled to Southeast Asia when he was dethroned in the year 1402 by his own uncle, Zhu Di, who later became Emperor Yongle.
Synopsis from Petaling Street Warriors' FB page: Set against the background of Petaling Street in 1908, Petaling Street Warriors tells the story of a pair of married couple, Shi Duyao (Mark Lee 李国煌) and Zhung Lichun (Yeo Yann Yann 杨雁雁), who operate a Hokkien mee stall in Petaling Street, where they suffer from the inefficiency of the colonial government and suppression by the Chinese gangsters.
While trying to impress his wife, Duyao encounters a mysterious yet strikingly beautiful kungfu expert, Xiaoju (Chris Tong 童冰玉), who claims that Duyao is a descendant of the missing Emperor Jianwen of the Ming Dynasty. To stop a group of Qing warriors and Japanese ninjas from robbing a treasure map that Duyao doesn't even know he has, Lichun and her cousin, Liukun (Namewee 黄明志), finally reveal their kungfu, turning Petaling Street into the ultimate battleground. Facing enemies of unthinkable powers, could Duyao unravel the mystery of his real identity and come to his wife's rescue just in time?
So, what do I think? To be honest, this movie is just soooo AWESOME! After I've watched Nasi Lemak 2.0 in September this year and when I saw Namewee's name on the Petaling Street Warriors movie poster, I knew I have to watch this movie.
Without providing spoilers, let me give you five (5) reasons why you MUST watch this movie:
1. Impressive action sequences: I can't believe my eyes. I've always been under the impression that Malaysian and Singaporean stars can't be compared to Hong Kong stars. But this movie has proven me wrong. Pay attention to action sequences between the two female leads - Yann Yann and Chris Tong; and also sequences involving the evil eunuch. Brilliant!
2. Superb, solid performance from the cast: Everyone is fantastic, including the supporting cast and extras! And I really enjoy listening to different languages - English, Malay, Japanese; and Chinese dialects - Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hailamese (not sure it should be Hainanese). Awesome!
3. Smart comedy: Amidst tension fight-or-die moments, the scripts are crafted with just enough in-depth comedic relief that doesn't jeopardize the movie's storyline or make the audience feels stupid by laughing way too much. Smart!
4. Catchphrase: What phrase? It's called Jidut! Watch this movie to understand its meaningful. Jidut!
5. Subtle nuances of citizenship and governance: To me, this is the most important part of this movie. I tear a bit when Sun Wen or Sun Yat Sen (one of the characters) speaks something along this line. I don't remember his exact words but the message is good. Salute!
Something to be proud of: After viewing the film as it underwent post-production work in Hong Kong, numerous Hong Kong filmmakers call the film as the "watershed" and "milestone" in the history of Malaysian Chinese film industry. [via]
Finally, all I have to say is, go watch this movie. Make yourself proud, make the Malaysian Chinese movie industry proud!