Chris Hemsworth runs along the streets of Kuala Lumpur in "Blackhat".
Thanks to its culturally diverse and breathtaking scenery, Malaysia has emerged as one of the most sought-after Asian countries for many international filmmakers, including Hollywood productions over the last few years. This year, Michael Mann's long-awaited cyber thriller, "Blackhat", which features an international cast comprising of Chris Hemsworth, Tang Wei and Wang Leehom, is the latest big budget Hollywood production shot at various locations in Malaysia such as Perak and Kuala Lumpur.
To coincide with the upcoming release of "Blackhat", here are the five notable movies filmed in Malaysia.
1. POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP (1992)
Jackie Chan hanging on a rope ladder atop the helicopter from the scene of "Police Story 3: Supercop".
Unlike the first two "Police Story" movies which shot in Hong Kong, "Police Story 3: Supercop" was the first in the series shot in various locations, including a memorable final 30 minutes shot in the city of Kuala Lumpur where Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh engaged in an elaborate action sequence. One of them involved a daring stunt where Jackie hung on a rope ladder atop the helicopter hovering around the city, while Michelle herself performed her own motorcycle jump over the ground and atop the speeding train.
2. ANNA AND THE KING (1999)
Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster in a scene from "Anna And The King".
Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr-led 1956 musical of "The King And I" may have been the most famous version of Anna Leonowens' story of her experience in Siam tutoring King Mongkut's children in English, but Andy Tennant's version of "Anna And The King" was equally respectable as well. Both Chow Yun-Fat, who played King Mongkut and Jodie Foster, who played Anna Leonowens, were excellent in their roles. However, the best thing about "Anna And The King" was some of the most lavishly photographed sequences ever seen in the '90s. Shot on various exotic locations around Malaysia including Penang, Ipoh and Langkawi Island, the movie is undeniably pleasing to the eyes.
3. ENTRAPMENT (1999)
Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the scene from "Entrapment".
"Entrapment" was one of the most talked-about Hollywood productions during that year in 1999, which featured a pair of high-profile appearances from Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. While the heist storyline was mediocre, the movie was particularly top notch in terms of its impressive production design. The centrepiece of the movie was no doubt the thrilling finale atop the spectacular backdrop of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. However, the movie annoyed many local movie fans with its obvious geographical error, notably on the absurd superimposed image between the unsightly view of Melaka River and the majestic landscape of the Petronas Twin Towers.
4. LUST, CAUTION (2007)
Tang Wei (right) in a scene from "Lust, Caution".
Although Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller "Lust, Caution" managed to make its way into Malaysian cinemas, the movie was heavily censored due to strong sexual content and violent scenes. The highly-controversial movie was best known for the then-unknown Tang Wei's breakthrough performance, who later became one of the most recognised Chinese actresses of today's generation. Despite its Shanghai-set storyline, a number of scenes were beautifully shot in Malaysia in Ipoh and Penang.
5. THE VIRAL FACTOR (2012)
Jay Chou (left) and Nicholas Tse (right) in one of the action sequences from "The Viral Factor".
With a HK$200 million budget, "The Viral Factor" was one of the most expensive Hong Kong productions ever made. Although the story was particularly nothing to shout about, the huge budget was well spent across various locations around the world, notably in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where most of the action took place. Acclaimed director Dante Lam, who was no stranger in staging major action set-piece, crafted some of the most spectacular action sequences ever filmed in the iconic city landmark. Whether it was the explosive gunfight amidst the congested traffic in Jalan Raja Chulan, a thrilling car chase through the Pavilion shopping mall, a foot chase at KL Sentral or a helicopter chase over the KLCC area, Lam utilises the city of Kuala Lumpur well enough as his ideal choice to create an action-packed battlefield.
"Blackhat" is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.
Cinema Online, 26 January 2015