Maria Hanafi (22nd Malaysian Film Festival Best Female Newcomer nominee Yasmin Khanif) is a coveted deal-breaker at an international trading and shipping company in Langkawi. She often throws herself in together with deals and has no qualms in bedding various men in the name of business. Among the men in her life are big client Dato' Nahu (Kuswadinata), best friend Ben Adam (Hairie Omar), potential husband Ikram (Helmi Hussaini Ali), boss Tan Sri Jamaudi (Ridzuan Hashim) and superior Zulfikri (Roslan Saleh). While she has a chance at repentance through her friendship with Ben and her relationship with Ikram, she is being hunted by a psychotic private eye investigator named Ali Topan (Yang Kassim) who was sent by a jealous Datin (Maria Farida) to expose her sinful ways.
Review By Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang
Are there nostalgic apologists out there among our filmmakers who thought that this movie would be a good idea to reinstate the word from the film name that was dropped more than 15 years ago in U-Wei's "Perempuan, Isteri Dan..."? In any case, if you bravely open the movie with a Koranic verse as part of the title card i.e. Surah Al-Isra Verse 32 ("And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a great sin and an evil way"), then you really ought to make that movie something really substantial and far-reaching. Unfortunately, not only is the final product lacking in any academic credentials, it's also a hollow attempt at didactic moral values.
It's original fierce title "Taubat Jalang: Neraca Dunia" hints towards an epic tale but the movie is actually nothing much more than a Langkawi adventure about a young corporate woman who likes to throw herself in together with trading deals. What's truly shocking about "Jalang" is that the 21-year-old lead actress entrusted with this titular burden is neither proverbially nor physically capable at executing it. Her Arabic-Malay-Pakistani pedigree gives her something towards getting the looks down but her maiden feature role is heavily blighted by laughable over-acting, under-acting and well, basically acting - she is all to obvious as someone who just walked onto the set. However, we can be kinder to someone who's new to the industry. What we cannot comprehend is how a substantial project like "Jalang" gets greenlit with an unrealistic theatre script that anybody who has ever been to a cinema can point out to be a TV movie?
O the shame. Not only do we have an ineffective script, we waste a cast that can be formidable if given the right treatment. Hairie Othman's ("Leftenan Adnan", 2000) return to the limelight surely disappoints anybody who knows his calibre. In "Jalang", he plays Ben Adam, the 'whore's best friend' who offers a way out. Too bad his effort isn't matched by Yasmin Khanif. Another old hand, Faizal Hussein ("XX Ray", 1992) gets wasted in a five-minute fight as a drug pusher. However, the fact that he was so memorable in this five minutes ("Hei, kamu ingat saya jual baja taik ayam ke, hah?") goes to show that this movie is very uneven and director Nazir Jamaluddin could've been more creative with his resources. Thankfully, there are some actors like Yang Kassim (plays a woman-hating PI with a score to settle) who was brave enough to go OTT with a strangely entertaining performance as villain Ali Topan.
In any case, this isn't the end of the road. The new production house De Baron have many more projects to come, the most eye-catching being "Datin Ghairah", a movie that follows "Jalang" at least in terms of 'shock value' movie-titling. Yasmin Khanif will also have a second chance to improve her act with "Blues Untuk Aku", another upcoming title. |
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