Silat Warriors: Deed of Death (Malaysia, 2019)

Areel Abu Bakar directorial debut Silat Warriors: Deed of Death is an action film that is about family.

Mat Arip (Fad Anuar) is a young man who spends his time gambling on illegal fights and drag racing. He owes a lot of money to the local organized crime gang. As a result, he steals the deed to his father’s, Pak Nayan’s (Namron), land. Mat Arip’s sister Fatima (Feiyna Tajudin) and older brother Ali (Khoharullah Majid) become frustrated with him as they try repeatedly to get Mat Arip on the phone. The gang arrives at the house to let the family know that they plan on collecting on the debt owed to them. They have taken land from other families in the area and especially want Pak Nayan’s due to the troubled past between the gang’s leader and Nayan. Mat Arip is flippant about the family’s situation, but Fatima and Ali grow increasingly worried. Due to the family’s religious beliefs and traditions, Pak Nayan believes that everything will work out fine.

Malaysian film is known for it’s themes of family and tradition, and Silat Warriors is no exception. There are flashbacks to the siblings being taught martial arts by their father, and voice-overs of their now-deceased mother stressing the importance of tradition to her children. All have grown up quite skilled, but older brother Ali is the best. As a result, Ali goes to find Mat Arip when he suddenly disappears.

The film’s story is a rather basic one, but it translates well due to it’s familiar themes. Silat Warriors takes a bit of time to get going. The first half is primarily exposition, full of extensive scenes of Mat Arip at illegal fights and racing against other young men. While some of it goes on too long, it effectively demonstrates how disaffected these young men are and their need for distraction from their everyday lives. However, the second half is where the action really amps up, putting the skills of the young actors on display. The gang attacks the siblings at three different locations. This part of the film jumps back and forth between scenes, beautifully showcasing the abilities of the cast, as well as the fantastic choreography of Azian Komeng. Watching Fatima defend herself against multiple gangsters in a market is especially fun. I wish she had more fight scenes in the film. Her scenes in the market also shine a light on how neighbors will protect and help each other. There are even bigger fights to come when Ali goes to save his brother and keep his family safe from the gang.

Overall, Silat Warriors: Deed of Death is a good film. It takes some time to build but patience pays off with some exciting fight scenes.

Silat Warriors: Deed of Death is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital On Demand from Well Go USA Entertainment.