Esan Sivalingam is well-known in Singapore as the co-writer of popular English sitcoms "Under One Roof" and "Phua Chu Kang". In 2003 he wrote, directed, with the co-finances of Singapore Film Commission, this offbeat road dramedy set in both Singapore and Malaysia, drawing on a host of experienced actors from the two regions. The trio of leads are acted by a truly multiracial cast: Chinese (Nicholas Lee), Malay (Sheikh Haikel) and Indian (Hans Isaac).
After the inane "Chicken Rice War", "City Sharks" comes as a breath of fresh air. It's a quirky, unpredictable road movie about three childhood friends (all orphans) collecting a dead loan shark's debts in Malaysia and meeting with mishaps along the way. Unlike some of the movies from Singapore, Sivalingam's movie is thankfully unpretentious and just go all out to entertain. Thanks to Sivalingam's script, we feel bonding with the characters while most of the comedy works fine too, with some truly funny offbeat moments. The actors put up highly commendable efforts: some are a little raw, but they're all well rehearsed and work fine as a unit - surely some kind of small triumph in a place small as S'pore.
The rural breeziness of Malaysia combined with a Singapore urbane feel gives an almost B-grade feel to the movie. Other than the rather clichéd end to the tale, this largely fun stuff's an entertaining spree-ride.
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