So, what can we learn about Malaysia from today’s “Around the World with Netflix” offering, the action comedy “All Because of You?”
For an Islamic country with laws against homosexuality, their cinema isn’t above making sissy jokes.
That part of the world’s passion for exceptional service is expressed every time the effeminate manager (Namron) of the Bayu Bay uses his catchphrase in English.
American wrestling has its fans there.
“Can you smerr what de Rock ees cookink!”
And the fight choreography isn’t a strong suit, despite being close to the world’s great martial arts cinema in Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. I’ve never seen so many obvious “stage punches” in my life. At one point, the filmmakers resort to animation to cover up this problem, the ultimate “We’ll fix it in post (production)” solution.
The first two acts of this miss-or-hit comedy set up the romance that isn’t coming off. Bellman Aiman (Hairul Azreen, a convincing lump) is clueless at all the attention his gets from longtime “friend” Jane, the chef (Janna Nick).
Aiman and the rest of the staff fret over the boss’s “five STAR” edict, struggle to master English to accommodate their clientele, but flirt shamelessly with the well-heeled and often gorgeous guests. Those hot young “influencers” led by Sofia (Sophia Albarakbah) are no exception.
Still, it’s the only place the popular film star Jasmine and super rich Westerner Tengku Iksander (Josiah Hogan) and his vast army of bodyguards would stay.
The film takes an hour to set up what we can see coming twenty minutes in. Some rich guest is going to attract the wrong kind of attention. Somebody is going to try something violent.
The last third of the movie has its share of bullet-riddled mayhem, never daring to show blood. But as the hapless, goofy staff tries to rally and fight back, the villains keep breaking off and saying “I got this” at each new “threat” — villains who stop using their guns to end “fights.”
Odd, that. That’s how villains become inmates.
The violence and comedy don’t blend as smoothly as you’d like. Shrieking — sometimes in Malay, sometimes in English — “Oh my God, he’s DEAD. He made COFFEE for me yesterday!” doesn’t make us forget we just saw somebody gunned down.
The language barrier jokes extend even to the lines people who have “mastered” English get wrong. It’s not all “Yes, I eat you” when somebody wants to say “Yes, I’ll have dinner with you.” But close.
I cackled at some of the action beats, the way Jane wails like a police siren when she’s grabbed, bits of slapstick here and there.
They make good use of a lovely location, and there’s a polish to the production that the fights lack. It’s a film very much on a par with the slickest international cinema made in the genre.
If “All Because of You” wasn’t so obvious and corny, if the acting was on a higher plane, if it had better fights and bigger laughs, it might have come off.
MPAA Rating: TV-PG, violence, innuendo
Cast: Hairul Azreen, Janna Nick, Amerul Affendi, Sophia Albarakbah and Namron
Credits: Directed by Adrien Teh, script by Nazri M. Annuar . A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:41