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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Juliane Block
Written by
Danny Chua, Juliane Block, Juria Toramae
Starring
Cheng Tzuu Bong, Michael Chen, Danny Chua, Huey Hew, Aliff Zulkifli
Running Time
19 Mins.

 "Ramly at War Begins" Review 
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It's always exciting when a new country gets represented on The Independent Critic, furthering my desire for this website to truly represent the wonderfully diverse world of film. In the case of Ramly at War Begins, an action-packed 19-minute short co-written and directed by Juliane Block, we get an entry from Malaysia about two brothers, Quan (Cheng Tzuu Bong) and Ming (Michael Chen). The two brothers belong to the Waja Warriors, one of the oldest and most feared biker gangs that deal in DVD piracy. Quan is a loyal and traditional soldier who lives and dies by the rules, however, when Ming finds himself in trouble with a rival gang Quan is forced to decide between completing a mission for the Waja Warriors and saving his brother's ass.

Having already played in multiple film festivals internationally, including Action on Film, Arizona Underground Film Festival, Bootleg 2.0 Film Festival and Germany's Crank Cookie Short Film Festival, Ramly at War Begins isn't so much about the performances as it is about the film's message and action sequences involving Mixed Martial Arts style sequences along with graphic scenes that are framed in a style somewhat similar to recent graphic novel adaptations.

While the film is a bit dimly light in some of the action sequences, this also serves to enhance the film's intensity and heighten the suspense during the action sequences. Decky Bahjanoon's camera work is strong throughout, while Ivan Chan's original music nicely weaves together the film's action sequences with its quieter, more character driven moments.

While it's rather easy to tell that Ramly at War Begins is a low-budget short, it's a promising action flick from director Juliane Block and gives an indication that Block can blend together a decent storyline with captivating action.

Why believe me? Check it out for yourself at the link above, a viewing that supports this new filmmaker and will help him finance future projects.
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
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    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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