Buli Balik: Review on the Preview

(DISCLAIMER: This review is more of a critic, so I’ll just be frank. It may or may not be the same as your Point of View. I’d suggest you to use this and any other review/critic as a guide and go watch it on your own.)

I started to be Afdlin Shauki’s fan when he was still hosting Bila Larut Malam, or maybe even sooner. I can’t really put a finger to it. His jokes ranges from mengada-ngada’ (the time he was hitting on Siti Nurhaliza when hosting some award show using mineral water) to simple and unexpected. The latter was the one that I am looking for everytime he’s on screen or on stage.

We don’t really need elaborate make-up and actions to make people laugh. Take for example, Rowan Atkinson as himself, NOT Mr. Bean. He just stand there, on the stage, in front of a mic, and he put on his serious face. Then he starts to joke WITH his serious face and people were laughing their rectum off.

That’s what I expect from Afdlin. No, I know he can’t do the serious face thingy, it’s just not his thing, but he has this unexpected simple gestures that can easily be interpreted and accepted. And for his movies, I am expecting 3 things.

  1. Something out of the ordinary (read: Unexpected)
  2. Some silly lines dubbed in (“esok je la aku kencing…” – Buli)
  3. Some scenes in the background that’s truly hilarious.

And that was what I’m hoping and expecting when I watch Buli Balik today. The third lineup of Afdlin’s movies. And seriously, I was wrong to have that impression. It is neither a good, nor a bad thing, however.

A little synopsis before I start. BULI BALIK takes off where BULI ends, with Nordin accompanying his childhood bully, Roy, to the hospital where he is told that the chances for Roy‘s survival are very slim. While this is happening, Rudy is being chased by the police as he attempts to escape.

The story continues 6 months later as Nordin becomes the champion of a popular quiz show. The show is also a hit among the inmates where Rudy has been hiding, to avoid arrest. Recognizing Nordin as the man from the scene of Roy’s accident, Rudy becomes outraged and plans his his revenge on Roy and anyone else who played a part in failing his robbery.

Nordin, who is still undergoing therapy, is shocked one day to bump into Roy at the hospital and to find that he is in fact alive. The doctor informs him that although Roy’s physical wounds have healed, he is suffering from amnesia and the only people who can help him recover his memory are those who knew him since childhood. Since Roy is an orphan, Nordin seems to be the only one who can help. (Quoted and modified from GBSB since there are something amiss in the original…hmmm).

Okay, now to my POV. Truth be said, I came out off the cinema feeling confused. I don’t know if that was the effect Afdlin wants his audience to feel, but when audience start to laugh at the wrong cue (e.g. Roy was crying, and everybody laughed. It was a tense and climactic scene!), I had to ponder on what effect it should be. I just hope Buli Balik still manage to deliver the message to the confused viewer, and I hope they just don’t shut off their senses and walk away. Kind of reminded me of ROCK, which has poor presentation.

If Buli was a comedy with a heavy message, Buli Balik, as the name implies, is the exact opposite. It is a semi-heavy (read: Drama) movie laden with comedy. Yes, Afdlin did tell us before the preview, but I was unprepared to the massive overhaul.

On the positive side, it is a good thing. After watching Buli, most viewers (like me) tend to open their mind as wide as possible to apprehend the jokes. It is the nature of us to loosen up to jokes and comedies. But when they are as open as I thought they should be, and watch Buli Balik, I believe the messages would just seep in. Think of it as like a herbal sauna. I could really feel the tense building up in Nordin as he confronts Roy.

But (all Malay movies must have ‘buts’…I always say), many viewers would not be satisfied as it is not what the thought they would be served. I just hope the viewers would really understand what Afdlin is trying to say. Bully is not a joke, as his (and my) experience had told him.

Okay, back to the story, as with other Malay movies, there are slight technical glitches, but suprisingly, it was too small to notice, except for those who search for it (quote: Sherlock Holmes). Well, who would notice if there was a sudden change in the color grading, or was it just me? Dubbing still pose as a problem in our productions. I think more time should be given to the dubbing process so as to eliminate all no-voice-but-lips-are-moving scenes.

Ah, but there’s a cool move done, most probaly in post-production. Afdlin managed to use a silly technical error to his advantage, and it became one of the most memorable scene in the movie. Clue: Cellophane/Masking Tape. Kudos to the Chief Kodok!

As for presentation, I would say Afdlin did okay, but he could do better. There are some scenes that I believe should be done in a more convincing way. As an example, the scene where Nordi
had just escorted Roy after his accident. A nurse wouldn’t simply tell bad news like it’s nothing. The quiz show was at times a bit overreacting especially when the player got shocked (literally). And the group therapy. Either it was a sarcasm to our society or was it plain comedy, I couldn’t tell. but the character could be less cartoonish and more normal, I would accept it better. And where the hell are the guards during the last fights. They could serve as bystanders when the 3 of them are fighting. or got thrown unconcius or got locked.

Okay, as in BPC, there’s again the wardrobe malfunction, this time was glaringly done by Dr. Selina (Umie Aida). No, you won’t get to see her assets like the original wardrobe malfunction (Oww…you know, the Justin-Janet thingy…). But seeing her wearing a loose blouse under a labcoat that looks like it’s borrowed from a Matric student, I just don’t think it’s practical. She’s a Neuro Surgeon, after all. Maybe she was still learning todress up, as thought by Dr. Ika (Nasha Aziz), and that was to show that she is still learning. I leave that to your POV. Oh…if you like CSI, try to imagine a female Grissom talking about brains. So I guess that kind of character do wear weird clothes at weird times. Weird..

Ah…amongst the things I like about Buli Balik, is that it implies a concept that I adhere to; There’s a reason behind every reason. Simply said, Domino’s Effect. You’d say Roy is a bad boy in Buli…ever wonder why? I’ll tell you why, if you’d go to a cinema near you, buy a ticket for BB, and watch it yourself.

And if you’re quiverring in addiction to Afdlin‘s silly one-liners and a little not-in-focus comedy scene, you shouldn’t be dissappointed. Just bear in mind that this is no longer a comedy, but a serious, more mature movie. Even Nordin’s character has transformed from the cute, chubby, timid guy in Buli, to the more aggressive, extrovert man in Buli Balik. You will have to juggle as to whom to like more, as some of the good character in Buli have gone evil, and the antihero in Buli have gone good, and some are just plain BAD. This is a case where revenge seems sweet. but if you consume it too much, you’re prone to diabetes. In Buli, the message was roughly: Don’t Bully. In Buli Balik, it’s ‘Revenge is not without its consequences’. Thinking of picking up at your old highschool bully? Think again.

All in all, Buli Balik is an okay movie. Just that I was totally thrown off balance by the sudden change. It did manage to show how Afdlin is also capable to act and direct serious stuff. As being a victim of bully during school, I’d understand how Nordin feels. and he did what I would love to do at that time. But being unprepared, it hinders me from truly enjoying the movie. Fishing me for second time, eh, Afdlin? Maybe I would, but I’d go as if I were to watch serious movies. So I would really appreciate the serious nature of Buli Balik.

Rating: ☺☺☺½


5 responses to “Buli Balik: Review on the Preview”

  1. Thougth I wanna share mine :

    1. Audience laugh at a wrong cue : Yeah, I did find it too in quite a number of scenes. It kills my ‘tgh-layan feeling’..

    2. I dont want to nitpick on the technicality (i.e : color grading & dubbing thingy) since those are something that can be improved.

    3. Fight scene (last scene) : Yup! Exactly.. where the heck are the security guards or at least some people that could help to call police or whoever authority. A bit not logic there but I was being told by a friend before : it’s meant to entertain anyways… So I looked it from that angle.

    4. Wardrobe malfunction : My guess, Afdlin wants to potray that Dr. Selina, played by Umie is a not ‘stylo’ lady. Judging by the way she dressed up, her hair was not hairbanded, really outdated spectacle and no colors on her face (reads make-up). But then, even that wa the message he wanted to potray, it’s still doesnt make any sense for a neuro surgeon to not hair band her hair. What if in case of emergency? Also the gedoboh-sleeves blouse is so not approriate for a neuro surgeon. Again.. what if in case of emergency? It should be in a neat finishing. I dont know.. but that’s my humble views.

    5. Scenes/things I love the most : A rage/tense feeling in Nordin when he confronted Roy and all “Ahhh!-that’s-it!-I-had-enough!!!!” scenes. Really can feel what he wants to show. Brava on that part!

    6. Line that makes me smile(for some reasons) : By Dr. Ika : Saya tahu dia (Nordin) sayang saya tapi dia takut nak cakap..

    I guess that’s all I want to write at this moment. I will save the rest for my review.. Plus I dont want to be a spoiler! heehee!

  2. i hate afdlin when he just started to appeared on TV. I just couldn’t accept the way he jokes. But my perspective was totally changes after i watched Baik Punya Cilok. Buli’s hasn’t got most of my attention that time neither with this Buli Balik. Come on.. not every movies produced by P Ramlee was a good one. I try to accept Afdlin as one of the people who try to pour something to our malaysian film scene and hope it could be better. But at the end of it.. he just a human being.

    hafizul idham

  3. To be frank my friend, I just have the feeling that BULI BALIK will not give the good aura impact I’m looking for like I’ve found in BULI. And I dont know why.
    It’s not that I’m not being supportive to my idol Afdlin Shauki, but it’s just my stupid instict. However, I will still catch the movie when it opens soon. Then, only I can give my review. Sounds fair eh?
    Pardon me.

  4. wlady :haha…i guess i’m quite a spoiler..but then, i wonder whay that particular line make you smile.hmm…

    hafizul idham :you’re like my father, who hates ALL afdlin’s appearance. he, like you, can’t accept afdlin’s jokes. but if jokes are not your preferences, then i;d suggest you watch Buli Balik. mayeb when seeing the serious side of afdlin can change you mind. Yes, he’s just human. but i’m hoping that he become better, if not the best.

    pyerudz : I think the feel good aura you’re looking isn’t there, is just because afdlin did not put it there. this is indeed a far more serious theme, and believe me, you’ll see the dark side of nordin, shaz, and those good guys in Buli. and you’ll also see the brighter side of roy.buli balik isi indeed an opposite of buli.