Fattah Amin (left) and Datuk Rosyam Nor execute the classic John Woo standoff.

AFTER entertaining cinematic action junkies with last year’s kinetic and comedic Abang Long Fadil 2, award-winning young filmmaker Syafiq Yusof is back with what seems to be another surefire hit.

Already grossing more than its RM4 million budget at the box office just several days after being screened in cinemas, one wonders if KL Special Force will be able to top ALF2’s massive collection of close to RM18 million (according to Finas, the National Film Development Corporation).

Whatever the case, it seems like Syafiq has a keen eye on formulating action scenes and telling engaging stories.

This time, he combines the explosions, gun fights and stunts with a darker and more serious cops-and-robbers slant.

Datuk Rosyam Nor stars as Roslan, a veteran police officer who heads an elite unit.

Hot-tempered and egotistical, he has solved hundreds of cases based on his experience and work methods.

One thing that’s been bugging him though is Geng Anarkis, a slippery group of bank robbers.

Led by the elusive Asyraff (Syamsul Yusof), the criminals seem to be ahead of the police all the time.

Things get worse for Roslan when his superior saddles him with Zul (Fattah Amin), a young maverick with a different way of doing things, in order to crack the case.

With Zul and Roslan at loggerheads, doubt and conflict ensue. Both suffer with respect to their personal lives as well.

Roslan’s unwavering dedication to his job puts a strain on his family life, especially with his wife Diana (Ramona Zamzam).

Zul also has similar troubles with his fiancee Mia (Tania Hudson), who is the daughter of the chairman of Bank Damofa.

Asyraff, meanwhile, has his own agenda as he only robs Bank Damofa’s branches.

Suffice to say, all the main characters have their own secrets and everything unfolds gradually as the story progresses.

A too cool for school Syamsul Yusof as the ideological villain with a master plan.

KLSF is an action film, so expect a fair number of explosions, lots of firefights and gun play, the destruction of luxury vehicles, as well as stunts and action sequences that the main actors carry out themselves.

Given the budget restrictions (compared to Hollywood and the like), it was all quite impressively executed.

It opened strong with a hi-octane action sequence of a bank heist that set the tone for the duration of the 100-minute film.

Pacing was pretty solid throughout and the story was peppered with twists and turns that kept viewers glued to the screens.

A few surprising scenes also drew gasps from the audience.

Without spoiling things for those who haven’t watched the film yet, the buildup and eventual reveal towards the end, as well as the dramatic moments of KLSF, made it a satisfying watch.

Rosyam as usual was solid and dependable in his portrayal of a frustrated and troubled hero out to save the day.

Syamsul also had several scenes to shine as the main villain with an ideology (he certainly had a few glamour shots to boot).

Hot young actor Fattah was a little too smiley and cocky as the seemingly surefooted fresh recruit but he did well considering this was his big screen debut.

He got to show lots of emotion towards the end of the film (think Brad Pitt at the end of Seven).

Although not fully there yet, KLSF was certainly a good starting point for Fattah.

Hopefully he will improve on his craft in time.

The rest of the cast all did a decent job to bring the action and drama to life.

Syafiq’s many influences were certainly present onscreen, from Hong Kong’s Police Story and the Chow Yun Fat films, to Hollywood greats like Heat, The Departed and even The Dark Knight, to name a few.

KLSF represents his seventh foray into filmmaking and he still remains fresh, ambitious and hungry.

Although the film was not perfect — and there was a particular crucial scene that even drew unintentional laughter from the audience — KLSF was still a big achievement, considering the director is only turning 26 this year.

I’d say that the script itself could be polished and tweaked for a Hollywood adaptation (like what happened with Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs which was adapted into The Departed). Here’s hoping!

That aside, Syafiq is a talented and creative individual who hopefully can inspire other young filmmakers to come up with more works that blend elements of dramatics, character depth and a layered storyline with commercial appeal.

KLSF is one of the better modern local action movies this year that people should check out.

NOW SHOWING

KL SPECIAL FORCE

Directed by Syafiq Yusof

Starring Fattah Amin, Datuk Rosyam Nor, Syamsul Yusof, Tania Hudson, Putri Balqis, Sabrina Ali, Mahmud Ali Basyah, Esma Denial, Liza Abdullah, Ramona Zamzam, Rafiq Salimin, Mustaqim Bahadon, Josiah Hogan

Duration 100 minutes

Rating P13