Aaron Aziz gangs up with Adi Putra


Flying kick: Aaron Aziz choreographed his fight scenes in 'KL Gangster 2'. ‘Much as I respect the original choreographers, I felt that the fighting styles of these three characters needed to have a flow and a natural rhythm,’ he said.

Flying kick: Aaron Aziz choreographed his fight scenes in 'KL Gangster 2'. ‘Much as I respect the original choreographers, I felt that the fighting styles of these three characters needed to have a flow and a natural rhythm,’ he said.

Despite all the brouhaha, the cast of KL Gangster 2 is optimistic about the film.

WATCHING gangster movies when he was younger has paid off for Aaron Aziz. “I watched the Young And Dangerous series and when I went to Hong Kong, I expected to see people fighting in the streets. But that didn’t happen, of course.”

The highly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s KL Gangster took RM12mil at the box office and is the highest-grossing local film of all time.

Aaron, 37, and Adi Putra anchor the film and play a pair of brothers caught up in the seedy underbelly of Kuala Lumpur.

While the original film has been praised for being gritty and realistic, Aaron and the film’s producer, Datuk Yusof Haslam, insist that the story in the two films depict a hyper-realised and exaggerated version of the world of gangsters in KL.

“It’s fiction, a work of fantasy,” says Yusof, whose son Syamsul Yusof is the director and writer behind the two films.

Indeed it is. KL Gangster 2, a prequel to the first film, features violent street brawls and shoot-outs between warring gang members armed with machine guns.

Mob boss Tailong, played by veteran actor Rosyam Nor, flies around in a helicopter and fires at his pursuing enemies with a gun in each hand while perched atop a Hummer sport-utility vehicle speeding along a highway.

KL Gangster 2 has been the victim of a different kind of crime. A month before its cinematic release, the entire film was leaked online and sold as pirated DVDs.

The stress brought about by piracy took its toll on Syamsul, who has refused to appear at the film’s promotional activities and has been avoiding the press since the issue arose.

The new film, which cost RM4.5mil to make and took close to two years to complete, is the biggest undertaking to date for film and television company Skop Production, which Yusof set up in 1985. In comparison, the original film cost RM1.5mil.

While the first film starts out with Malek being released from prison and depicts the two brothers as enemies, the prequel tells of how Malek got into a life of crime and how the feud between the siblings escalated.

Adi says that everyone involved in the movie is aware that the expectations of fans of the first movie are high.

“The pressure is definitely there for us to make this movie even better than the first. There’s a lot more action in this movie. We want the scenes to be more memorable,” he says.

The father of one, who is married to film producer Aida Yusof, came under media scrutiny when he became embroiled in a scandal – a Johor businessman lodged a police report against the actor in August, accusing him of sending lewd photos and text messages to his wife.

Adi declined to comment on the issue, saying that it is a police case and that he has to “respect the authorities” and let them handle it.

Both he and Aaron are upset by the movie leak. Aaron says that having such a high-profile film such as KL Gangster 2 pirated before its release puts the spotlight on the real problems plaguing the local film industry.

“I’m frustrated by the leak, just as I was frustrated when certain quarters in the Malaysian film industry accused Singaporean actors of coming in and stealing their jobs. Having pirates steal our work is a much bigger problem that is damaging to the whole industry,” says Aaron who hails from Singapore.

His starring role as Malek, a street-wise mechanic forced into a thug’s life by family circumstances, cements his status as one of the top actors across the Causeway.

He and his family are Malaysian permanent residents.

Besides his action roles in blockbuster movies such as KL Gangster and race movie Evolusi KL Drift (2008) and its sequel, Evolusi KL Drift 2 (2010), Aaron is also famous for his romantic roles.

His romance drama Ombak Rindu, released in the same year as KL Gangster, is the second-highest-grossing local film, with RM10.9mil in box office takings.

He is also a familiar face on television, starring in popular dramas such as Nora Elena and Janji Diana. So influential is he that Syamsul gave him plenty of leeway to develop and flesh out his character as Malek.

In the movie’s climactic, three-way fight scene between Malek, Adi’s character Jai and Tailong, the director went through three different choreographers because Aaron did not feel the fighting sequences were realistic enough.

“In the end, I had to do the choreography myself. Much as I respect the original choreographers, I felt that the fighting styles of these three characters needed to have a flow and a natural rhythm,” says the father of three, who has been based in Malaysia since 2006.

Adi, too, had plenty of creative input and came up with his character’s traits and quirks. For example, Jai, who sports a bleached hairdo in the sequel, is always seen with an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“The bleached hair and cigarette are my ideas. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out why he never actually lights up the cigarettes,” Adi says. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> KL Gangster 2 is playing in cinemas nationwide.

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