FROM the tear-jerker Gerimis Mengundang, director Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri is back with an action-packed comedy that literally kicks butt.
On board in the title role is funnyman Zizan Razak, one of Ahmad Idham’s favourite graduates from Raja Lawak.
The duo last teamed up in Jangan Pandang-Pandang, where Zizan played a treasure hunter who uncovered a smuggling syndicate.
Mael Lambong is some-what similar, in that Zizan also teams up with a woman with attitude. This time, the female character is played by his Hantu Bonceng antagonist, Juliana Evans. And joining them is his buddy also from the film, Taiyuddin Abu Bakar, who has (thankfully) dispensed with his “Apa Celup” (What’s Cooking) tagline.
Mael, Zizan’s alter ego, works almost 24 hours a day repossessing cars of loan defaulters. And he can’t be bribed to let you off the hook.
One day, government agent Maria (Juliana) jumps into his car and tells him to drive her to Kemaman in Terengganu, which coincidentally is his hometown. A gunman is on their tail.
In Kemaman, Mael is reunited with two persons from his childhood — big bully Faizul a.k.a. Tiger (Taiyuddin) who is now the deputy headman of their little fishing village and childhood sweetheart Rozie (Shenthy Feliziana Sudirman) who is engaged to Tiger.
Maria’s mission is to bust a cyber-crime ring and she has roped in Mael for help as he is an upright citizen.
For the first 20 minutes, the movie is hilarious, highlighting how Mael serves notices on car owners whose time is up, in various situations.
The funniest is where a drift king who listens to Chinese opera music is confronted by an equally good drifter, Mael himself, who emerges James Bond style from his car to serve his notice.
Equally hilarious too, is the story of how Mael got the ugly scar on his right cheek. For those who think Tiger scratched him, think again.
Juliana gives a decent performance as Maria. It is her first “kick butt” role and, as a taekwondo student, she cuts Mael down to size in a saucy brawl shortly after they meet.
Taiyuddin, who first found fame in Yasmin Ahmad’s Mukhsin, is convincing as the kampung bully. He snarls and growls like his favourite animal, the tiger, and even says “scratches, scratches” before he beats up someone.
Newcomer Shenthy, who made her Malaysian debut in Ahmad Idham’s Gerimis Mengundang The Musical early this year, has good chemistry with Zizan. She looks great as the demure village girl who is forced into an unhappy engagement. But do not expect her to be helpless, as Ahmad Idham avoids making his female characters “damsels in distress”.
His movie is not complete without a “double twist” and Mael Lambong is no different.
One has to be observant to find out whether Maria or her pursuer is the crook as the filmmaker has dropped clues along Mael’s journey.
There are also a couple of irritating moments. For example, it serves no purpose to play the Ulek Mayang song, just because the story is set in Terengganu.
Flaws aside, Mael Lambong is a great watch, thanks to the main actors and Ahmad Idham (in a cameo) who work great as a team.
Watch out for the surprise ending which sees a very important person “stepping” into Mael’s life.
Directed by Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri
Starring Zizan Razak, Juliana Evans, Shenthy Feliziana Sudirman, Taiyuddin Abu Bakar, Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, Azwan Annuar, Dian P. Ramlee, Siti Elizad Sharifuddin, Aziz M. Osman, Sabri Yunus
Duration 110 minutes
Rating PG 18