Malbatt: Misi Bakara Setting Things Straight Once and For All

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It took 21 years before Paskal’s director, Adrian Teh, finally set out to course-correct the actual true story of the Battle of Mogadishu aside from the real names of the Malaysian soldiers being fictionalized for dramatization purposes. This is especially true after Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, released in 2001, left out the inclusion of Malaysian soldiers to save the lives of 70 American troops. Black Hawk Down has none of them portrayed in the movie except for a brief dialogue from Major General William F. Garrison’s character mentioning,Everything they got. Pakistanis, Malays” to indicate their involvement in providing the reinforcements. 

With MALBATT: Misi Bakara, Teh presented the Malaysian soldiers’ contributions front and centre. The movie opens promisingly with a rescue mission saving the hostages from the Somali terrorists, showcasing Teh’s ability for dynamic and stylised camerawork. (Yes, I am talking about that one slow-motion shot of the soldier sent flying out of the door after stepping on an explosive device. *chef’s kiss*)

Director Adrien Teh was able to pick up the pace once the Malaysian soldiers received an order to transport the US troops within the hostile territory of the war-torn Mogadishu. This movie can be surprisingly intense and emotional as a whole considerable time was spent within the confines of the APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) vehicle. Watch them navigate through the maze of the streets with the Somali militia firing their guns and RPGs from all corners.

The reactions of people after seeing MALBATT: Misi Bakara will leave you laughing: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZSL7CJqPs/

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THE CAST

The movie featured some of the great acting from Zahiril Adzim,Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin, Fauzi Nawawi, Adlin Aman Ramlie and Bront Palarae. With the line of cast ensemble, viewers are feasted with emotional and action-packed scenes that are sure to glue the viewers to the seat.

It was a good start. But it didn’t take long before the extended sequence of the Malaysian soldiers returning to their army base began to rear its ugly head with a series of awkwardly misplaced comedy moments. This involves Lance Corporal Ramlee played by Shahiezy Sam and LCPL Zulkifli played by Dafi Ismail Sabri (yes, Dafi AF5).

What is best about Malbatt:Misi Bakara is how it explores certain themes throughout the rescue mission. Despite the Malaysian soldiers being looked down upon and underestimated by the Americans, they still tried their best to execute the mission to the best of their abilities. Credits should also be given to the cast Somalian actor, Musa Aden as Abdalle, a UN interpreter whose lives are entangled deeply in the Somalian Civil War. It was also revealed during the press conference following the screening of this movie that Musa Aden was born and raised in Bakara, Mogadishu, and that he was there when the conflict happened which adds even more depth to his character.

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GREEN-SCREEN AND CGI

Even though it’s one of the most expensive Malaysian movies ever made (with a whooping production budget of RM 20 million), Malbatt: Misi Bakara does not really look like it sometimes. The movie doesn’t look too ugly, but the CGI and special effects can look janky, especially when it comes to the smoke and explosions. You can’t help yourself but cringe at the green screen scenes. Sure, a RM20 million budget still can’t be compared to a massive budget of a Hollywood film but perhaps more of the money can be efficiently used to make the movie better in terms of visuals. 

OUR TAKES ON IT

Despite it can’t realistically compete with the likes of iconic war movies like Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan or Pearl Habour, this movie is actually a good effort by director Adrian Teh. It’s not perfect and has a bunch of flaws, but for a Malaysian-made movie, at least I can say it wasn’t that bad. With that being said, we give this movie the final score of 7.5 out of 10. 

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Author

  • acapdenza

    A lawyer moonlighting as a writer. Acapdenza is passionate about fiction and non-fiction movies and series, whether it's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars or even Christopher Nolan's epic biopic Oppenheimer.

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