In a scene from local action flick Polis Evo, Zizan Razak’s character Inspector Sani is punching the walls of a hospital corridor furiously. Overwhelmed with regret and anguish, he blames himself for setting in motion an unfortunate turn of events.

Yes, the country’s top comedian Zizan is playing a dramatic role. And he pulls it off.

While this isn’t Zizan’s first time in a serious role (he played a young drug dealer in 2013’s Tokan), it’s still a side of him viewers don’t often see and it really is quite refreshing.

Directed by Ghaz Abu Bakar and produced by Astro Shaw, Polis Evo sees the police force planning a crackdown on a drug syndicate in Terengganu. Leading the investigation is local cop Sani (Zizan), who seems like just the sort you’d bring home to meet your parents – responsible, jovial and well-mannered.

Then there’s Khai (Shaheizy Sam), a merciless cop from Kuala Lumpur who is so good at what he does, he is nicknamed a “supercop”. But his cold and steely demeanour pushes everyone around him away. Khai has been transferred to Terenganu to help Sani in the case.

The clash between the small-town and big-city cops results in some hilarious and heartwarming moments.

There’s a scene where the two are trying to get a suspect to put down his weapon and surrender. Khai barks orders at the suspect while Sani, disagreeing with his partner’s approach, negotiates politely with the suspect, as if he’s haggling for fish at the wet market – the contrast immediately draws laughter among viewers.

Zizan doesn’t play a straight-up dramatic role. He does a good job teetering between being funny and serious. Instead of cracking jokes outright, he lets the light-hearted moments surface from his character’s inherently playful personality.

Meanwhile Shaheizy, who has portrayed a wide range of characters over the years, proves he can also play an action hero. He looks the part with his chiselled jawline and ripped physique (ladies, there’s a shirtless scene somewhere).

But he is by no means a musclehead. Shaheizy gives a nuanced performance especially in telling the character’s backstory.

Polis Evo’s biggest draw is perhaps its action scenes. It’s jam-packed with large-scale, well-choreographed car chases, shootouts and explosions. It’s an ambitious endeavour that has paid off. They look and sound good.

My only criticism is that the buddy-cop storyline – two detectives who butt heads must learn to work together – isn’t exactly new. It gets quite predictable after a while. But the chemistry between the leads is strong and the characters grow on you.

Polis Evo aims high and hits the mark.

Polis Evo

Director: Ghaz Abu Bakar

Cast: Zizan Razak, Shaheizy Sam, Nora Danish, Wan Hanafi Su, Pablo Amirul, Eyka Farhana, Mimi Ernida, Amerul Affendi, Ayie Hushairi, Harun Salim Bachik