If you follow the local movie scene, or went to the cinemas anytime after 29 August, chances are, you would have heard of the movie 'Sangkar'.
The posters are everywhere and piqued our interests because it didn't look like your typical local-made movie.
After all, it is the first Malay Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) movie in the country.
So, we decided to watch it just out of curiosity and here's why we think you should watch the movie too:
1) It's the first local MMA flick
Hands up if you're tired of watching local romatic dramas, horror, and gangster movies! So are we. Which is why we're glad to see that local filmmakers veering away from the usual 'sure-success' storylines into more diverse topics.
'Sangkar' is one of the long list of new movies that are trying to break the usual monotony of the local movie scene, and we feel this in itself is a reason to watch it. It tells the story of two MMA fighters, Adam and Johan, who get into a fight outside the ring, resulting in Johan getting seriously injured.
Filled with guilt, Adam attempts to redeem himself by resorting to underground fights for monetary gains, which he chooses to share with Johan's family.
The decision to make a local movie darker and deeper (instead of the usual slapstick comedies we see almost every other day) is indeed a fresh breath of air for us local movie fans.
2) It has an star-studded cast
Zul Ariffin and Remy Ishak are the main characters in the movie and have carried their characters well. Both their characters are quite heavy, with a lot of underlying emotions and history, and they portrayed them convincingly.
The one thing we could really appreciate is that the actors had to train and put on massive amount of weight in a short period of time, so they don't look puny compared to English MMA fighter James “Sledgehammer” McSweeney, who makes an appearance in the movies as well.
Others in the movie are Mira Filzah, Nik Adam Mika, Niezam Zaidi, Ray of Era FM, with guest appearances by local MMA fighters Saiful Merican, Peter Davis, Jihin Radzuan, Rashid Salleh, Andy Teh, and international fighter Davron Kuronboev.
Talk about an all-star cast.
3) Less romance, more bromance
We have no issues with romantic movies in general, but really, we would like to watch other stuff produced by local teams from time to time.
There is a little bit of romance between Zul and Mira's characters, but that's minimal compared to the bromance between Zul and Remy.
It's heart-warming, funny and shows what true friendship means, leaving viewers with a deep sense of connection with the characters by the end of the movie.
4) It has more than just fights
If you're looking to watch an out-and-out MMA movie, 'Sangkar' is not it.
There are training and fighting scenes, but the heart of the story is about friendship, redemption and resilience.
Watching the movie, we went through a series of emotions - anger, annoyance, admiration, humour and more.
We were rooting for the main characters and were rewarded with feel-good emotions at the end of it.
5) Pretty good character arcs
No story can be good without good, three-dimensional character development, and 'Sangkar' has it. At least with the main characters, and that's the point anyway.
It was easy to see what drives the characters and why they act the way they did.
We don't want to spoil the movie for you by giving too much information, but suffice to say, you will feel for the characters as the movie progresses.
In cinemas near you
All in all, you'll get a pretty solid local movie in 'Sangkar'. It has a combination of everything: action scenes, a little bit of romance, sentiments of family and of course, a heavy dose of bromance.
'Sangkar' is now showing in cinemas nationwide, so if you haven't already, gather your friends and family, and head to your nearest cinema now!