10 times Malaysia was featured in international films
Writer: Florey DM
These are some of the movies that have mentioned or filmed in Malaysia.
We might not be as famous as our neighbours to the north and south globally (Thailand has all the beautiful beaches and Singapore all the cool urban settings, the way Hollywood sees it) but our beautiful country has cropped up in numerous movies over the years, be it in Hollywood, Kollywood, Bollywood or Chollywood titles.
In celebration of this year's Malaysia Day, we take a look at movies that have featured, mentioned or filmed right here in Malaysia. We'll list down 10 such movies from the past decade (so, sorry, no Jackie Chan's "Police Story" or Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster's "Anna and the King").
Malaysians were in for a very nice surprise when they sat down for their initial viewing of the "Train to Busan" sequel, "Peninsula" (also goes by "Train to Busan Presents Peninsula"). One of the (human) characters in the zombie movie turned out to be a Malaysian, played by Malaysia's very own TV and theatre actress Bella Rahim!
In the photo above, shared by Bella on her Facebook, a Malaysian badge can be seen on her United Nations (UN) uniform. Though in the movie it only flashed onscreen for mere seconds, eagle-eyed cinephiles spotted it nonetheless.
While "Venom" opens with a dramatic scene of a spaceship crash in Sarawak, the Sony/Marvel film was never actually filmed in Malaysia. All its "Malaysian" locations were shot in a couple of locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
That doesn't damper our Malaysian pride in it though, since we do get to witness Sibu and the Malay language being mentioned and spoken in the Hollywood blockbuster.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
To mention all the locations the "Crazy Rich Asians" cast and crew filmed at in Malaysia would fill up a whole 'nother list. Despite being Singapore-set, most of its scenes were filmed here instead. Among them are Langkawi (shown above, which stood in for Pulau Rawa, an actual island in Johor), Carcosa Seri Negara (as the fictional Tyersall Park) and Penang's Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (for that scene with aunties playing mahjong everywhere).
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Granted, even without being its major filming location, this Hollywood movie is already a win in most Malaysians' book since it stars our very own Sarawakian-British leading man Henry Golding.
Even though our iconic twin towers only appeared for a bit in the trailer for "Independence Day: Resurgence" and it wasn't even geographically accurate, we'll take that cameo!
The gif above shows a snippet of the trailer that shows our nation's most famous landmark getting destroyed during an alien attack on earth and dramatically falling into the River Thames. Director Roland Emmerich did explain in an interview that it was his idea for iconic landmarks from Asia to be sucked up by the alien spaceships only to be thrown later in other parts of the world. Makes sense.
That poster says it all. Our nation's iconic landmark makes its appearance again, immediately notifying viewers where superstar Rajinikanth shot this action-packed movie of his.
Aside from holding a premiere in Malaysia, "Kabali" was also dubbed in Malay so it can be further enjoyed by non-Tamil speakers. This marks the first ever Indian movie to be dubbed into the Malay language, but not surprising considering how much Malaysians, young and old, love Rajinikanth.
Another movie starring another Hemsworth brother also features Malaysia! Chris Hemsworth took a break from mesmerising everyone with his flowing blond hair and flying hammer to play a furloughed convict solving a case of high-level computer hacking in "Blackhat".
The "Thor" star was spotted filming scenes in various locations in the country, including a car chase in Taman Jaya as well as a bank scene and streets scene in Kuala Lumpur.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Malaysia, as seen in the music video above for the OST of the Hindi movie, "Roy". Arjun Rampal plays a womanising filmmaker who heads to Malaysia to shoot the third movie in his trilogy. Here he meets Jacqueline Fernandez's also filmmaker character and love blooms between the two, of course.
Playing It Cool (2014)
The movie is not only set in Malaysia but also filmed entirely here, in our two most famous filming locations: Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.
Thor was not the first Avenger to feature Malaysia in his movie. No, that honour goes to Captain America and Falcon.
The Viral Factor (2012)
Though this is considered a cameo at best, Malaysians still collectively lost it when Anthony Mackie repeated our country's name over and over in the trailer, while Chris Evans just smirks when he hears it. That was cool!
The above image is probably the most overused whenever "The Viral Factor" is mentioned but we can't help it, there's just such pride in seeing a Polis Diraja helicopter in the background as Jay Chou strikes a cool pose in front of it.
Don 2 (2011)
This movie was largely filmed in Kuala Lumpur, so fans must have had a fun time watching Jay Chou and Nicholas Tse run around in places like Pavilion shopping mall and KL Sentral.
That prison scene? Any of them inmates could've (maybe) shivved Shah Rukh Khan for real because some of them were actual prisoners!
Cinema Online, 16 September 2020
While the first movie, 2006's "Don", featured Malaysia more prominently as it chose places like the twin towers (of course) and Langkawi (of course) to film at, the sequel was less so. The only Malaysian filming location was the prison in Malacca with, again, real inmates as extras.