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City Sharks 2003
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Released: 27 Mar 2003 Director: Esan Sivalingam Writers: Esan Sivalingam Actors: Nicholas Lee, Corinne Adrienne, Chee Wai Chan, Kher Cheng Guan Genres: Comedy
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See Shellharbour City Sharks 2003.

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City Sharks Reviews:

When the film premiered in 2003, I wasn't interested in the movie because it starred Nicholas Lee, whose hero I abhorred in Under One Roof. It's nothing personal, but somehow felt that the film won't be worth my time. How wrong was I, actually watching the DVD and looking back. The production's cute slick and professional looking, with an interesting storyline to say - not anything sophisticated, but decently entertaining for a commercial film, which could have done better at the box office if not for audiences like me who didn't lend help back then.The film says the storyline of 3 orphans, and coincidentally of various races (to highlight our multi-cultural society?) - Mike (Nicholas Lee), Jeff (Sheikh Haikel) and Chief (Hans Isaac). They're losers in life, until Mike possibilities upon a loanshark's tiny electronic black ebook of contacts, and launches into a mini-project with the others to pretend to be the debt collectors, going across the Causeway to reclaim (illegally of course) 1 Million Riggit to save the orphanage they grew up in.So it's essentially a street trip for this town men to the kampungs of Malaysia, pretending to be loan sharks (hence Town Sharks), and while they go about their collection, they are chased by, check this - the original sharks from Singapore, gangsters in Malaysia for stepping into their turf, and a girlfriend who was dumped.It's an entertaining film with a feel nice factor, never mind the mild but frequent cursings and swearings. Built on a common theme of adversaries finding brotherhood amongst themselves, it's a easy setup which doesn't test to take itself too seriously, or test to be too sophisticated. There are enough quiet moments to complement set action pieces, and even then, they're usually played for laughs.While there were a number of female characters, the romance portions were found lacking. Between Sherry (Corinne Adrienne) and Mike, there was tiny chemistry, and between Samuel and Betty it was too artificial. But anyway the romance entanglement was never the main focus of the story, though I dug Michelle Saram's sado-masochist hero named Deanna (incidentally, in Sheikh Haikel's another film Units Daze, his object of obsession was Deanna Yusoff) who gets turned on with pain.I thought Nicholas Lee was cute decent as one of the leading men, with his overacting which suited the film and storyline just fine. Haikel was essentially testing a larger than life ver of himself as an Afro-Rapper wannabe, while Hans Isaac completes the trio with his brooding mad demeanour. While there is chemistry amongst them, at times it was just a wee bit contrived, but watch the DVD extras where they really ham it up for the camera.The helping casts were mainly drawn from familiar TV faces from both sides of the Causeway, with Koh Chieng Mun, Moses Lim, Marcus Chin, Eileen Wee, Keagan Kang (a hoot with his faux pas Aussie accent), Lim Kay Tong, Afdlin Shauki and Zaibo lending their weight to finished the ensemble. While some were bit cameo roles, I thought that it provided some fun in watching them bring their characters to life with limited screen time. If you had watched S11, you might recognize Kevin Murphy too in one of the scenes.But what really made the movie, is its array of songs, arranged by the talented Don Richmond, and with another contributions from local bands like The Observertory. To me, melody enhances the emotions of certain scenes, and here, be it madcap montages, comedy or serious moments, the melody is just top notch. You don't have many local movies having their own published soundtrack, so this is one gem to look out for at melody shops, if you can search it.Highly recommended, and my opinion was if it's done today, it would probably receive a decent audience it deserves, probably even making a box office killing I reckon.The Code 3 DVD surprisingly includes a entire lot of extras, which makes it worthwhile to own, and makes it one of the better local DVDs out there. There are 3 theatrical trailers, a melody video for the theme song Stellarblowout by Skrooloose and different deleted/extended scenes, coming from a first slash duration of about 2.5 hours. It also has a detail commentary by director Esan and movie editor Bing Li, together with Sheik Haikel and Nicholas Lee, which is entertaining enough as they recount the set experiences and shared notification on the making of.Deleted scenes - Mike and Jeff in the kitchen talking about collecting debts (extended scene) 3mins, Sherry and Fisherman (Zaibo) in truck (extended scene) 1.5mins, Sharks pick up Al (extended scene) 1.5mins, Sharks in seat covers (deleted scene) 1min, Sharks in problem (extended scene) 1.5mins, and an alternate ending, which thank goodness wasn't used, because it's kinda choppy and draggy, and quite wonderful too.There's also a "Behind the Scenes" segment (13mins 15s) - showing the cast monkeying around the movie set, of being "tupperware", having the focus place on the cast in between shoots, and it sure looked hell lotta fun. While the characters in the film might seem artificial in their interactions at times, you can't deny the chemistry on set, with their incessant crapping.Also included is a Town Sharks Documentary "Heart of Darkness - the Making of a Comedy" (15mins 30s). A mockumentary done in a Survivor reality TV style with plenty of individual bitching sessions by cast and team alike, as they recount (fictional) experiences like having insufficient movie stock, and the cast going on a strike on the set. It plays like a mini short movie in itself, and while it's a semi-hilarious documentation of current happenings between the cast/crew from both sides of the causeway in this Malaysian-Singaporean joint production, it sure looked convincingly real.


Like many others, I hold away from local movies like the plague. Films like One Leg Kicking, Sharp Pencil, Chicken Rice Fight and Liang Po Po have left me with a terrible taste in my mouth. But alas, along came Town Sharks, a film starring the very surprising (in a nice way) Nicholas Lee. Ok, I admit I didn't catch the film when it played in the cinemas. But I was fortunate enough to catch it some weeks back at Fort Canning where it played to a several thousand folks in the park. I heard some grumble 'why are they showing a local film?'. 'Why don't they present Daredevil?' etc. etc. But these were the same folks who were, half an hour later, laughing hysterically at the antics on screen. It was funny, didn't test to be arty, and was just 90 mins of fun, fun, fun! I loved the fact that something fresh happened each ten mins in the film. And thanks to Sharks, I have since borrowed more local movies on video. Mostly crap, as expected, but a several nice ones like 'Eating Air'. Is it a coincidence that 'Air' like 'Sharks' is a road-ie movie? Perhaps more Singaporean filmmakers could create street films instead of poorly made films about football, chicken rice, trees, jane's and sam's! Nice work to the Singaporean (or was it Malaysian) squad for an extremely entertaining movie. And thanks too for restoring my faith in local movies.


I don't think this film has made it beyond Asian shores, but I was recently in Singapore and watched a host of their local fare. One such film, and in my mind, the most memorable, was Town Sharks. The film begins quickly, picks up the pace with a very funny and very unexpected twist, then kicks off on an off-beat street trip into the neighboring country. It is an perfect storyline that moves as quickly as the guys speeding down the country roads. Even though the cinematography was sometimes inconsistent - some scenes were just brilliant, some were terrible - the overall storyline had me hooked. There are variety of hilarious moments especially when the three guys begin working together, and the conversation was witty and even ridiculously funny. Their need to belong, coupled with their incompetence, was charming and I just loved the three boys!!! And the dramatic scenes (three come to mind) were brilliantly underplayed and truly tugged at the heart strings. The blond Indian hero was the least memorable of the trio, but when covered by his another two orphanage pals, wasn't as grating. The female lead (if there was one) wasn't very good, but thankfully there was very tiny of her. The orphanage parents were nice and I loved the fact that they behaved like a real, married couple. I did want that the kung fu stage was a tiny longer, but overall, I'd have to tell that this was the best, non-pretentious movie I watched during my tenure in Asia.



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