The Deed of Death (2019)

Posted in Reviews by - June 27, 2021
The Deed of Death (2019)

Along with Adrian Teh’s Wira, this film rounds off an impressive year for Malaysian martial arts cinema. A confident if obviously low-budget directorial debut from cinematographer, Areel Abu Bakar, this film – like Wira, which was picked up by Netflix – has also enjoyed international recognition, winning an award at the 2020 New York Asian Film Festival and a distribution deal with Well Go USA. Unlike Wira‘s more familiar crime-busting themes, this film is rooted in themes of identity, spiritualism and morality. It tells the story of a farming family of Malay Silat fighters whose martial arts practice is as much an expression of faith as it is defiance. When a gang of thugs break into their humble home at the start of the film, it is the daughter, Fatimah (Feiyna Tajudin), who promptly, surprisingly, delivers a flurry of fists and kicks which sends them packing. Her brother, Mat Arip (Fad Anuar), is the reason for all the trouble – a wayward gambling addict who has succumbed to a life of vice, street fighting and fast cars, selling his family’s land to loan sharks to pay off his debts. It is her other brother, Ali (Khoharullah Majid), a Silat instructor and a great fighter, who steps up to take on the gang. It’s quite clear that the film is ultimately building up to a massive fight scene, and the tension is well-measured throughout, with a story which is delicately told if very familiar. Being a Silat film, there is a temptation to compare it to The Raid – however, the better comparison is Gareth Evans‘ previous 2009 film, Merantau, which adheres more closely to the style’s technical nuances, as demonstrated in this film’s zesty, stunt-filled combat scenes.

AKA: Geran; Silat Warriors: Deed of Death.

Silat Warriors: Deed of Death will be released on digital, Blu-ray and DVD in North America on 6 July 2021 courtesy of Well Go USA.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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