PETALING JAYA: Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell may be a hotshot in his fighter jet but he is no match for the keris-wielding Malay warrior Mat Kilau when it comes to the box-office.Director Syamsul Yusof’s new movie Mat Kilau – Kebangkitan Pahlawan has grabbed the attention of Malaysian audience, and it’s reflected in its box office earnings.
The film earned RM12.2mil in just four days, Syamsul said in an Instagram post.
“Mat Kilau beat Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World (Dominion) at the (Malaysian) box office. Extraordinary,” the Munafik filmmaker wrote.
On Tuesday, he told The Star: “Yesterday (Monday) alone – and this is a working day, mind you – we made RM3.7mil. Yes, on a Monday! Can you imagine?”
Syamsul said Mat Kilau actually performed below his expectations on its opening day on June 23. But as more people watched it and shared their positive views of the film, it attracted more attention.
Although Syamsul is elated with the film’s success, what’s truly important to him as a filmmaker is the audiences’ takeaway from watching his movies.
“For me, I have achieved something good by putting out a movie that talks about our history,” he added.
Mat Kilau – a period film starring Datuk Adi Putra, Beto Kusyairy, Fattah Amin, Yayan Ruhan and Johan As’ari – tells one portion of the life of Malay warrior Mat Kilau, who fought against the British in the late 19th century.
It focuses on the time when Mat Kilau and his father, Tok Gajah, were said to have attacked the British military base with just 80 other fighters.
Author Nisah Haron told Bernama that one of the messages in Mat Kilau is about good leadership and “not being in a hurry when fighting the enemy”.
“It’s not a question of numbers but quality in action; following strategy and patience, clearly demonstrated by Mat Kilau.
“It is a role model for today’s young generation who always want something fast. But in fighting the enemy, patience and loyalty to the leader is important,” she added.
Syamsul, who also wrote much portion of the screenplay, said: “In my research, I realised that Mat Kilau did not only stand up for his nation but he also fought for the religion of Islam as well.
“As I learnt more about him, my respect and admiration for him deepened.”
In another Instagram video, Syamsul posted a montage of children imitating the silat moves they had seen in the film.
“One of my objectives with this film was for us to really know who Mat Kilau was, appreciate our own history and be proud of who we are.
“So, in that sense, my objectives have been met,” Syamsul said.
Netizens also praised the movie.
On Twitter, Irfan (@Marchfoward) was impressed by the actors’ performances in Mat Kilau especially the silat sequences.
Arif Akmal (@Angah2nd) tweeted that Mat Kilau is something Malaysians should be proud of as there are many lessons to be learnt from the film.