Sunday, March 4, 2018

Benyamin Biang Kerok - A Messy Remake of 1 of the Iconic Indonesian Comedian Movie

When my wife and I found out there would be a comedy movie about the famous Benyamin starring Reza Rahadian, we were pretty excited. This movie premiered on 1st March 2018, but we chose to see another movie that was already playing for some time and would be gone pretty soon. We finally got the chance to see the film yesterday when we were in North Jakarta area and we decided to see it in Cinemaxx theater at Pluit Village. It was our first experience seeing a movie in that cinema which happened to just opened few months earlier in that mall. So let us get on with the film.

Brief Story Line

Pengki (Reza Rahadian - My Stupid Boss, Critical Eleven etc) was the spoilt son of a very wealthy business woman named Julaeha (Meriam Bellina - Cinta di Balik Noda, Get Married etc) and her husband an old fashioned Betawi man named Sabeni (Rano Karno - Gita Cinta dari SMA, Roman Picisan etc) who distant himself from the glamour & luxurious life they were having. Pengki seemed to be having nothing to do except fooling around and he was good friends with Somad the hacker (Adjis Doaibu) and Achie (Aci Resti). They decided to help their friends who stayed in a flat which would soon be evicted, by going to casino to win some money to pay out and avoid eviction. Unbeknownst to them, the casino owner Said (Qomar) found out about Pengki's involvement and wanted to take him out.

Meanwhile, a famous singer named Aida (Delia Husein) somehow met with Pengki who instantly fell in love with her. Pengki would try his best to get her attention and be her boyfriend. Things would be a lot more complicated when it was revealed that Aida was actually related to the villain Said. Just when their relationship seemed to be hitting it off, Said would start to interfere.

So could Pengki be saved from Said's revenge attempt? And would Pengki be able to convince his mother that he was a good son? Find them all in this movie.

End of Brief Story Line

When my wife and I found out about this movie, we thought that it would be like a biography movie about the iconic Indonesian comedian Benyamin. But when we saw the trailer, it seemed not the case. And after we saw the movie, it turned out to be completely different. This movie was a remake of 1 of the famous movie starring Benyamin titled Benyamin Biang Kerok, but with a completely different modernized story. However, this new take was a complete mess. The earlier part of the story in casino felt like a cheap remake of some casino heist a la Mission: Impossible. Every scene after that was a combination of some incoherent scenes compiled together with the hope that audience would be able to appreciate the whole story.

Not even Reza Rahadian's brilliant acting as Benyamin could salvage this sorry excuse of a remake which seemed to be trying too hard to make a smart comedy movie by adding some moral messages & critics to government but ultimately felt too forced. Apart from the messy story itself, there were other factors that truly disappoint us, like the plot of having multiple villains, the overuse of jokes on technology, the appearance of a robot (what the heck??), the unfunny appearances of supporting characters and some others.

My wife and I obviously could not have seen the original movie as it was released in the 70s but from the synopsis we read, the story of that original was a lot simpler and most probably had they made the remake having a similar plot line, it would have been a much much better movie. It was very sad to see a major name like Benyamin S (who was so legendary that the street near his old house was named after him) was made into this kind of movie. I think that the blame definitely should be put to the writers who had made such a story. It was also surprising to see Hanung Bramantyo (who was a well known movie maker of heavy drama movies such as Kartini or Rudy Habibie) could be chosen to direct a comedy movie. I personally think he should stick to drama movies as it was more of his forte. 

Another thing that disappoint was the fact the movie was having a cliffhanger ending. The producer probably think it was a good idea to make a sequel just like the original, but it might have been better had we been hinted earlier. Most likely they just want to try something similar to Warkop DKI Reborn, but what was good about that movie (at least Jangkrik Boss Part 1), we really got the essence of their movies and we already know Warkop DKI movies were usually a messy comedy but we loved them anyway.

Usually my wife and I were always able to find something good in a movie or we could enjoy something from it. But in here sadly the only thing that could make my wife and I enjoy the movie was the acting of Reza Rahadian who we believed was really convincing as Benyamin. It was amazing how his expressions, body language and even his voice sounded a bit like the late Benyamin. Not to mention he was able to sing the songs originally sung by Benyamin quite nicely here. It was just too bad that the story was not a good one, otherwise this would have been a remake that would make his family proud. Fortunately we saw this film in a quite brand new theater of Cinemaxx using a bank promotion that allowed us to only pay 1 for 2 tickets. So it was not a total loss.

Overall, this was a very disappointing attempt of a remake of a classic Indonesian comedy movie. My wife and I had planned to be entertained and having fun watching a comedy film but what we got was a messy, not funny movie unworthy of bearing the name Benyamin. If you want to see a funny Benyamin movie, try to find his original films, but if you want to go and see how Reza Rahadian portrayed Benyamin, then by all means go see this movie. Just remember that you have been warned about those disappointments that you might feel after seeing the movie. The choice is yours.

Mike's movie moments rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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