How do you go from hero to zero? In the case of Jay Zulkarnain – the main character in action film J Revolusi – all it takes is one bad day.
Jay (Zul Ariffin) is a member of the elite Special Action Unit (UTK). His mission is to infiltrate a secret facility where a deadly virus is being produced for a buyer with a Russian accent. You know, because it’s the default accent for bad guys in action movies.
Jay’s sister Dian (Fazura) is doing undercover work in the facility – she’s on the medical staff of the group producing the virus. All is well until Dian tries to rescue a fellow agent from harm. Her superior reminds her that she is not trained to handle a situation like that. She is just supposed to identify the buyer and let the gun-toting team led by Jay take care of the rest.
No, Mr Superior, nobody puts Dian in a corner.
Amid a frenzy of flying bullets, gushing blood, fast fingertips furiously typing on high-tech equipment and a very shouty superior, someone tosses a grenade and it all turns to ashes.
When Jay wakes up from a coma, he finds that his sister has been taken hostage by a group simply called PFO (Farid Kamil plays Andra, its leader). In exchange for Dian, they want the virus which Jay’s team managed to salvage. Somehow, Jay thinks it’s a good idea to take the virus with him and negotiate with the bad guys … on his own.
But it all goes wrong again. Not only does Jay fail to save his sister, he also loses the virus. To rub salt into the wound, the backup team that goes after him is killed in a shootout.
Jay, or Bad Luck Badrul as he should now be called, is accused of being in cahoots with the bad guys. What’s a hero to do? He escapes from police custody and goes rogue. With the help of a scene-stealing Azad Jasmin as the genius tech guy Skodeng, and Izara Aishah as Eddie, his no-nonsense UTK teammate, Jay begins his own investigation to find Andra and rescue Dian.
Director Zulkarnain Azhar seems to be trying to achieve many things at once with J Revolusi.
He wants it to be a thrilling action movie so there are lots of explosions, fights and intense chase sequences to keep the audience entertained. He goes for some intrigue with a spy element that is just superficial at best.
He wants to give the audience some emotional family drama. He also injects a lot of humour courtesy of some rapid-fire one-liners from Skodeng. Hey, if you like workplace drama, then look out for Iedil Putra as Jiman, Bad Luck Badrul’s jealous colleague. Did we mention an international syndicate interested in getting its hands on a viral weapon of mass destruction?
If one or more of these elements had been developed fully, J Revolusi could have been a more satisfying watch.
However, the movie gets lost in its own frenzy. Bad Luck Badrul’s descent from decorated soldier with zero failed missions to a man who resorts to brute force for information is also perplexing to watch. Then again, it’s probably a reminder that good people have bad days that could unleash a whole lot of hell. Now I feel bad and I’m going to stop calling him Bad Luck Badrul.
Jay Zulkarnain is the hero we deserve, one who reminds us that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.
J Revolusi opens on March 2.
Director: Zulkarnain Azhar
Cast: Zul Ariffin, Izara Aishah, Fazura, Farid Kamil, Azad Jazmin, Iedil Putra, Peter Davis