Antoo Fighter (Review)
Directed by Azizi Chunk
What we got here is sort of Malaysian Ghostbusters, but they use stick weapons instead of proton packs. Instead of busting ghosts we’re fighting monsters and demons. The mood is humorous, not taken too seriously, sort of like the actual Ghostbusters. With people running around in wacky costumes fighting monsters, the film can’t not be entertaining, double negative or not. Good fun. What other film let’s you see a giant Monsters Inc. character battle a giant robot? Take that, Iron Man!
In 1927 Siam, Drakulat is about to reawaken Lord Sharon thanks to a human sacrifice of some girl. Drakulat’s thugs surround him, and all is going swimmingly. Suddenly, some random dudes show up and are all like “FU, Satan!” One gets killed right off the back because Drakulat is immune to javelins. A few others get killed by some random Mortal Kombat finishing moves by other Drakulat goons, but some of the good guys (including a guy dressed as an American Indian) shoot beams out of their crescent-tipped weapons and blast some of the monsters, including two ganguro girls. All of the demons are sucked into a bottle, and 1927 is saved! I find it funny that Antoo Fighter has the same type of prologue as Monster Squad, but also cool.
My video game analogy in the previous paragraph is correct, because the title screen for Antoo Fighter is done as a mockup of the Street Fighter arcade title screen! It then has a FPS opening credits sequence set to a Malaysian rock song. The song is pretty good.
The actual story starts out with what is obviously a dream sequence (so I guess it isn’t the actual story yet?) where Poh Jee is the lone warrior who rescues Lyla from an evil mafia guy, all set in a Shaolin-ish temple. It ends abruptly as he punches Atuk in real life. It turns out the two are pest control guys living in modern Kuala Lampur. A drug addict steals a tire off their truck, so Poh Jee chases him and gets it back, but the thief runs off. We find out later this thief is Opie. For the trivia record, Opie was wearing an “I’m A Virgin shirt” like a character in Pod People and made a reference to Cicak Man fighting King Kong. Poh Jee runs into some women, who then insult him. One of which is Lyla (also called Delyla), the girl of his dreams. First she must hate him so she can love him in the final act, see.
Some kids on the beach (one of which has an AIG shirt on! This beach kid is getting millions in undeserved bonuses!) open up a glowing box and end up releasing all the monsters from the prologue. Way to go, AIG kid! Atuk gets a mark on his hand when the monsters are set loose. The monsters attack a village by making goofy faces as people scream, all set to a rock song. This is what Shaitani Dracula would have been like had the director had $500! The campiness and the fond reminders of other films makes this sequence great. At the end, Drakulat finds a fan in a villager named Hans Isaac, who gives them a map of KL and gets an autograph.
Drakulat’s henchmen are taken from various Asian horror films from across the continent. Here they are, in all their glory. As the many of the bad guy names are only in the credits, but not apparent who is named what, I just made educated guesses for those few. Feel free to correct me if you can.
Atuk tells Poh Jee how his parents died, an that Atuk is the last demon fighter. Every 60 years new demon fighters are chosen, but in 1978 demons were killing babies because one is supposed to defeat Drakulat for good. Just ignore the fact the prologue was in 1927, the next births were in 1978, and the movie year is 2008, yet none of those dates fall into the 60 year cycle. Poh Jee’s parents are killed and baby Poh Jee is kidnapped, so Atuk goes to save him with three other demon fighters (there are normally five demon fighters, but one named Guntur quit the group when Atuk married his girlfriend.) They kill the Earth Jinn and rescue baby Poh Jee.
Atuk gives Poh Jee a key, then leaves with the moon staff weapon. Poh Jee chases, and manages to hail a taxi driven by a woman named Lara who has her own tracking system involving Nerf guns and GPS devices that can follow Atuk. They follow him the whole day to where Drakulat is hiding. Atuk challenges Drakulat, but Drakulat kills him. Poh Jee and Lara talk to him before he dies, Atku tells him to find three others with special marks (because Poh Jee and Lara have them) and to look for Guntur to explain everything. Then he dies dies.
Poh Jee uses the key to open a crate in Atuk’s room, a book inside is Antoo Fighting for Dummies, also a movie starts. It is Atuk explaining about Drakulat. Drakulat needs to sacrifice a girl from a special family to bring back Al El Sharon, aka Lord Sharon, father of Satan. So Poh Jee and Lara make up flyers advertising they are looking for people with the same moon markings they have. They also put up flyers announcing the Moonrakers are playing at Dreamwave Nightclub with DJ Torgo, and for a lost puppy named “Karl Barx”.
The marked people all get together, and of course one of them is the tire thief Opie. But you already knew that from the Roll Call above, and me mentioning it earlier. So why am I explaining it again? Because some people only skim the reviews, see… The group is not entirely convinced they have been chosen from birth to battle demons after being explained that by a guy they met from a flyer (I’ve been told I was chosen to fight demons so many times…) Luckily, Drakulat’s thugs have attacked City Tower, and the guards are being interviewed on the news by Zamrin Putar Alam – a silver-masked TV reporter. I wish my local news was delivered by weird guys who wear masks. Now that everyone is convinced that demons are attacking, they agree to look for Guntur as the monster terrorize Kuala Lampur.
Guntur turns out to be running a Reggae Haven (!?!) and is a Rastafarian! He also looks about 40, but a scrolling message tells us he had plastic surgery (and probably other things, but you can forgive me for not being fluent in Malay!) We find out Pak Guntur used to be called Zainuddin Yankee, though that is never mentioned again. Guntur is still mad over Atuk stealing his girl, so Poh Jee has to try to convince him with a big speech. It works, so the training begins. And so does the training montage!!!
Guntur has new equipment – the Sri Bulan Magic Spear! The spear can now vaporize enemies, and is battery powered. He also gives them an address of a warehouse in the city where the secret Antoo Fighter base is. Guntur explains that humans are H2O based, but demons are N2O based. Yeah, chemistry is not the film’s strong suit, especially since it immediately calls N2O Nitric Acid (which is HNO3) and then maramplakkepundenparangsekeper dioxide (which Google gives no hits on and makes me think the subtitle guy banged his head on the keyboard or something!) So the name Antoo comes from N2O. So they are Antoo Fighters! Or the Bad Chemistry Fighters! They get a custom van – The Kumbang Malamz! Also a motorcycle – a King Rempit motorcycle FT300i. Plus new uniforms, a robot named Amut, and a teleportation device. Then Gultur leaves.
In the city, demons attack to grab Lyla! An alert sounds on the computer at the Antoo Fighter base. They teleport the van with three of them to the location (Poh Jee, Lara, and Rambo, while Opie and Tasya stay behind.) The three fighters zap some ghosts released by the cloaked monster girl, but the baddies teleport away with Delyla. Hey, no woman, no cry, right?
Something big appears on the computer screen, but at the base Drakulat’s henchwomen the Bride and the Transvestite attack Opie and Tasya. They zap those monsters!
Oh no! A giant Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc, is attacking Kuala Lampur! This is crazy! Rambo throws the robot Amut at it, Amut grows big, and now Mike Wazowski is fighting a giant robot. That’s something I never thought I would see in a film. But the batteries die on the robot, so it shrinks. Rambo, you idiot! He puts in new batteries…and it fights again! Now we get Street Fighter strength bar graphics up top as they fight. The battle is cool, and probably the best fight you will ever see between a robot and a Pixar character in a Malaysian film. Finally, Mike Wazowski is killed. Sulley is probably sad, but screw that blue bastard!
The Antoo Fighter team heads to City Tower to fight Drakulat once and for all! As the sacrifice ceremony is about to begin, Drakulat sends his goons to stop the Antoos. Hopping Vampire and crazed native Hantu Cina attack first, so Opie and Tasya fight them while the other three blast into the building and end up in a fight with Admiral Bajang and Mistikus. A Rosyam Nor joke is said, a reference to the star of the 2004 film Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam.
Poh Jee continues on to Drakulat (leaving the rest of his team to fight their own battles, which the movie shows them losing) and after threatening the burned girl Pontianak Maya away, he reaches Drakulat, alone. They zap at each other, then decide to fight without any weapons or powers. What? Okay. It’s fighting time! They punch and kick and punch some more. Poh Jee remembers that Guntur gave him a bag with a mystery thing in it, to be used in emergencies only. Poh Jee opens it up, and inside is curry powder! It is thrown in the face of Drakulat, and that buys Poh Jee some time until the other four Antoos come running in. I guess they all won their fights offscreen due to their deft skills and manuvering. The five all fire at Draculat at the same time, and he is destroyed in a flash of gold sparkles. So Poh Jee rescues the girl, earns her admiration, and the day is saved.
Then a meteor crashes, bringing some new alien demons or something, and the Antoo Fighters pose for the camera! I guess that will be the sequel! So that’s the end here.
One surprising thing about the film is the amount of transvestite characters. Not only is there the obvious transvestite henchwoman to Drakulate, but the mentor Guntur lives with a transvestite. That caught me off guard because one usually thinks that is a Thai thing, and a Muslim country like Malaysia wouldn’t have someone like that displayed openly in a film as a non-villain, but there she is so hooray for progress. Maybe Malaysia is very open about transvestites, but I don’t know. I just found it interesting.
Antoo Fighter was great fun, I had been wanting to see it for a while and it didn’t disappoint. The film knew how to have fun and just went with it. There was rarely a boring section or slow time.
I have culled two posters and a wallpaper off of the now-defunct official website:
Rated 7/10 (Company mascot, suspicious mark, I got your bailout bonuses here!, random helicopter guy, totally not a calculator, that’s not how you oil your hair!, the littlest team member!)
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