Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Fist Of Dragon"
Superhero films are all the rage now, thanks to Marvel and DC. Not wanting to be left out, Malaysian directors have taken the liberty of creating their own superhero film, such as "Cicak Man" and more recently, "Firefly". How does Michael Chuah and Jimmy Choong's latest film fare against the slew of superhero films out there? Well, if you thought "The Green Hornet" was bad, wait till you watch "Firefly".
The film opens with an introduction of Malaysian masked vigilante Firefly, who is lauded for helping local citizens at night from petty criminals such as snatch thieves and rapists. In reality, Firefly is actually a middle-aged coffee shop owner named Huat (Henry Thia), whose crime-fighting abilities are nothing but mere luck. Huat is also a father whose youngest daughter (KeQing) is annoyed by her father's dangerous night activities while his oldest daughter (Miau Miau) is more than happy to let him indulge in his whims, since their mother was murdered by a snatch thief. To appease his youngest daughter, Huat obtains the aid of Little Dragonfly (Michael Chuah), a youth who actually knows martial arts. Together, the two take on the Black Hornet (Bernard Hiew) and his gang of miscreants, a merciless vigilante group.
Although it is refreshing to see a superhero carved out from an everyday man who just wants to make the world a better place, Huat's boastful antics soon wears thin. To be blunt, for someone who gets by through sheer luck alone and later, has to rely solely on his sidekick does not deserve the rights to order said sidekick around. On the other hand, Michael Chuah as the stoic and well-meaning Little Dragonfly keeps the film from being folding into itself, no thanks to the flimsy material. That said, the fighting choreography for the film is very well done and it is a relief to see that skilful editing is at hand to cover up any flaws in the stunt work.
And those are the only virtues of "Firefly". The rest of the cast tried their best to act within their given roles, but given that their roles are not written very solidly to begin with, they become very tedious to watch. For example, Bernard Hiew's Black Hornet is a man who, after being wrongly sentenced for his family's death, decides to break out of the mental institution to seek revenge on evildoers. We are supposed to sympathize with him, but it is difficult to do that when he just walks around being crazy. Meanwhile, Henry Thia has a more intriguing backstory and motivations for wanting to become a superhero, and it could have played out better if Chuah and Choong had given him more intimate moments with his two daughters. As it is, Huat just seems like an old man experiencing mid-life crisis asking for death.
It would be unfair to compare "Firefly" to blockbusters dealing with the same subjects, but at the very least, it should have been a decent film. Chuah and Choong had plenty of places to go, but they are content to leave the film as "an average old man who becomes a superhero and reduces the crime rate in Malaysia through the sheer power of luck". Rather than take a moment to explore the characters, such as how Huat's daughters deal with their mother's death in comparison to their father, the story is reduced to painting by the numbers. Cinema Online, 11 November 2013