The Malaysian film industry is hit or miss. Wait, that’s not right. Allow me to rephrase my sentence. The Malaysian film industry is miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, hit. The good ones are like catching Lapras on Pokemon Go, or Arsenal winning the Premier League title — rare occurrences.

I recently watched Lee Chong Wei, which exceeded all expectations and left me swimming in a pool of my own tears. There’s also Jagat, which hit the big screens in 2015 and managed to garner praises from critics internationally. Then there are movies like Ola Bola, The Journey, KL Gangster 2 and In Between Floors that are nothing to shout about but do have enough in them to make us believe in our industry. #MalaysiaBoleh

But those are exceptions to the rule. Generally, our industry churns out movies that seem to be made specifically to piss all over your brain cells. This year alone we have Badang and Amazing Titanman. And of course, the millions of horror movies and horror movie parodies — Hantu Kak Limah 2: Husin, Mon Dan Jin Pakai Toncit (actual f**king title).

But this past Friday I watched a Malaysian movie that reshaped the very fabric of my reality. It is called 33km From KL and it is a movie so bad that I actually slapped my face several times convinced that I was having a nightmare. Because how can whatever I was witnessing on screen be REAL LIFE? This isn’t White Chicks level bad, it isn’t Battlefield Earth level bad. This is something else. This is the director literally saying, “Hold my beer Tommy Wiseau! Let me show you how it’s really done.” Jesus, at least The Room is entertaining.

The story itself is convoluted: Three dudes get involved in a car accident 33km from KL. At the hospital, doctors inform authorities that they found blood, not just from the three victims, but from three other people as well. What follows is a series of flashbacks, each story completely separate from the other. No, they do not at any point intertwine.


Story 1: Dude and his new wife move into a nice bungalow.

PAUSE! We have got to talk about the song sequence that follows. Look, I’m okay with song sequences in movies as long as they A) Add something to the storytelling B) Are dope. The song here is neither A nor B.

First of all, the songs are so-so. Second of all, the choreography is kinda like when you’re at a family gathering and you’re forced to perform on stage by your drunk uncles and aunties, and you have only 10 minutes to prepare.

UNPAUSE! As each day passes, the husband notices that people are starting to vanish (first the gardener, then the chef, etc, etc). But the wife keeps telling him that it’s all in his head: “The gardener went back to his hometown. He told me before he left.” I guess you’re supposed to question what’s real and what’s not, but the only thing you’re questioning is why you agreed to watch this movie in the first place. There are four plot twists in the first story.

  1. The wife is not the killer, the husband is.
  2. The husband has split personality disorder
  3. The wife knew about the husband’s split personality disorder, but was only pretending not to.
  4. The best one. *drum roll* The wife only married him because his brother paid her a lot of money.

Story 2: Dude is being tortured by a hitman.


There’s a married couple. There’s something about the girl’s brother being unhappy with the guy she married. And there’s something about fighting over property. #Indians

During these flashbacks within the flashback, the husband’s face is always being blocked or cut out. We see three people talking but a beer glass covers the guy’s face. We see the guy talking to his wife and brother in law, but the scene is shot in a way that we only see his back. We see him talking to his wife at home, he’s only shown from the shoulder down. The director is teasing a big mystery. What’s funny is, even without showing his face, it is so blatantly obvious that it’s the same guy who’s being held captive by the hitman. It’s so OBVIOUS. Your beautiful round belly is a dead giveaway, buddy.

Story 3: Chindian love story.

This is the only entertaining story in the whole damn movie. Not because it’s good. Please, let’s not fool ourselves here. But at the very least it wallows in that ‘it’s so bad, it’s funny’ territory. There is a scene where the Chinese girl tells the Indian guy’s brother, “Please, talk to your brother for me. I love him. I love him more than anyone in this world. I love him more than my dad.” This shit reminds me of the text messages I used to send chicks when I was 14. I had a 0% success rate, of course.

Forget about the story which is a travesty. Forget about the dialogue which is a cringefest from start to finish. The entire movie looks and feels like a student project and that is an insult to student projects. Do the director and cinematographer even know how to hold a camera? There are loads of shots that aren’t even straight. Is this by accident or is it a stylistic choice? Also, a large chunk of the movie is shot in extreme close-ups. I know it’s free-the-pimple month but you don’t have to hit me over the head repeatedly to remind me.

During the first song number, there is a moment where you see two people walking into frame way in the background, look at the camera for a split second with an “Oh shit! I think they’re shooting something” face, before backtracking. Then they whip out their phone and are seemingly recording our two actors dancing. That’s right! The song sequence got PHOTOBOMBED and the director didn’t opt to retake the scene.

There’s also a scene where we see a mop in the background when it plays out the first time. But when the scene replays, to show us what really happened, we don’t see the mop in the background. I guess the mop is part of the plot twist, huh?

  1. The wife is not the killer, the husband is.
  2. The husband has split personality disorder
  3. The wife knew about the husband’s split personality disorder but was only pretending not to.
  4. The best one. *drum roll* The wife only married him because his brother paid her a lot of money.
  5. The mop wasn’t actually there. #MINDBLOWN #ContinuitySupervisorOnBreak

I haven’t even touched on the acting yet. Besides the person who plays Sathiya, everyone else ranges from terrible to really terrible. The ENTIRE movie is one giant lip-sync error.

Also, apparently people aren’t allowed to criticize this movie or something? This dude criticised the movie and has since removed his video and made an apology video.

** This is the personal opinion of the columnist.