Unlucky Plaza


Comedy / Crime / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.1 10 107


Downloaded times
November 27, 2020



720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.09 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
122 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.03 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
122 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive 7 / 10 / 10

Less hostage thriller than social satire, this darkly comic crime caper jabs at our society's unglamourous corners with unpleasant - but also uneven - effect

Seeing as how Singaporeans had reacted to a Filipino group's plans to celebrate Philippine Independence Day at Ngee Ann City last year, 'Unlucky Plaza' seems to have struck with eerie prescience at the extent of our xenophobia, especially as it attempts to portray the tension between locals and foreigners through the lens of a Filipino permanent resident in Singapore struggling to make ends meet. At the heart of writer-director Ken Kwek's darkly comic crime caper is Onassis Hernandez (Epy Quizon), a single father on the brink of financial ruin after the head cook at his restaurant in Lucky Plaza added 'shit' into the chicken adobo and landed six patrons in hospital with salmonella poisoning. As a result, Onassis is hounded by his unsympathetic lady landlord (Pam Oei) for the rent he owes and cannot even afford to ensure that his ten-year-old son Popoy (Christian Wong) has Fruit Loops for breakfast every morning. On the ostensible other end of the 'wealth' spectrum is smarmy property guru cum motivational speaker Sky (Adrian Pang), a former actor who went by the name of Terence Chia (yes, the similarity with real-life MediaCorp actor Terence Cao is intentional and duly noted) that now lives in a sprawling three-storey bungalow in Stevens Road and drives a Porsche. But, as we quickly learn, Sky is asset-rich and cash-poor, unable to pay off the $400,000 in debt he chalked up with a loan shark. That 'shark' has since been taken over by a PRC syndicate, whose Number 3 man named Xiao Xiong (Guo Liang), literally translated as 'Baby Bear', has come to collect. Completing the trio of narratives whose paths intersect midway into the story is Sky's unhappy wife Michelle (Judee Tan), who is constantly harangued by her husband to sell her parents' Tiong Bahru flat so that he can pay off his debt. For solace, she starts an affair with her Christian pastor Tong Wen (Shane Mardjuki), whom she eventually plots to run away with to the island paradise of Gili Meno. Oh yes, Kwek certainly hasn't lost his edge for controversy, the former ST journalist turned scriptwriter of 'The Blue Mansion' who made his directorial debut in 2012 with the banned-then-unbanned- but-with- snips 'Sex.Violence.Family.Values' short and who is making his first feature-length film here. In the first hour, Kwek builds three interesting character studies around Onassis, Sky and Michelle, while serving up critique on some of the most prominent current social issues such as property scams, materialism, church improprieties and heightened nationalism. And to some extent, Kwek makes good on his own promise in the latter half of the film, where an intersecting chain of events over the course of a single day lead Onassis to hold Sky, Michelle, Tong Wen and Xiao Xiong hostage. Onassis' demands? To see his son and to have a helicopter ready so he can fly himself and Popoy out. As the Malay police officer Azman (Osman Sulaiman) in charge of the situation quickly remarks and which Sky echoes later on, this isn't Hollywood - and it is clear that Kwek intends for the turn of events to be read as satire, not to be taken entirely at face value. Alas, Kwek fumbles at trying to remain tonally consistent throughout the supposedly tense last hour. On one hand, he aims to amplify the local-versus-foreigner divide by positing that the former would respond by demonstrating with placards reading 'Singapore for Singaporeans' outside the scene of the crisis and tearing down shops that belong to the latter, but hey any Singaporean will tell you how unlikely that is given our strict laws against public assembly. On the other, he tries to find poignancy in each one of his flawed characters' own personal struggles, whether is it to come to terms with their selfishness, infidelity, or hypocrisy. Yet Kwek never quite finds the right balance to accomplish both, so much so that the two end up pulling the film in opposite directions. At close to two hours, Kwek also cannot quite keep the same tight grip over the narrative. Despite occasional flashes of violence (including a chopped up hand), Kwek fails to replicate the white- knuckle suspense to be expected of any a hostage thriller. You'll find yourself questioning just how much of a crisis it even is when all Onassis has to hold his hostages at bay is a huge cleaver he calls 'Ah Tiong' that was passed down from generation to generation of owner of his Filipino restaurant. In fact, Kwek undermines what visceral thrills his audience might have of watching a hostage drama depicted in Singapore by a prologue at the very beginning, which sees Onassis, Sky and Michelle very much alive and healthy in a TV studio being interviewed by talk show host Anita Kapoor one year after the supposedly harrowing events. To his credit, Kwek has assembled a great cast for his film. Award- winning Filipino actor Quizon impresses with a restrained and heartfelt portrayal of a working-class man driven to desperation. Pang brings unexpected nuance to a character which we would love to hate. Next to Quizon and Pang, Tan's slightly hollow performance doesn't register as much at the start, but becomes more subtle as she is confronted with the errors of her adulterous ways. But for all its flaws, 'Unlucky Plaza' is uncharacteristically Singaporean. Yes, its protagonist may be Filipino, but its topics and themes are rooted deeply in our milieu, and with his latest, Kwek has probably cemented himself as one of our most iconoclast filmmakers. Even though Kwek doesn't match his ambition and derring- do with the skill to deliver an equally empathetic film, this mix of thriller and satire still is probably one of the most intriguing local films you'll see this year.

Reviewed by lao_duat 8 / 10 / 10

"Double vodka guava juice. Pink."

(Contains a little spoiler) Unlucky Plaza is definitely not the typical local film. It doesn't tell you everything about the characters, you have to pay attention to their dialogues, actions and expressions to conclude for yourself what is the personality of the character. In simple terms, the writer/director does not treat the audience as an idiot. Watching this show, I found similarities in style of portrayal as The Blue Mansion, another film written by Ken Kwek. I enjoyed watching Epy Quizon, who played the role of Onassis Hernandez. He brought out his role so well you can feel the frustration and desperation of the character. The phrase I love best from him: "Here(in Singapore), only exams kill people, not guns." Figuratively speaking or not... The scene of 'confession' between Michelle Chan(Judee Tan) and Pastor Tong(Shane) was so real and so close to me. The feeling of agony when you feel that you're not a teacher who inspires your students. And if I were to meet my students and were unable to remember their names, I'll be so disappointed with myself. I certainly also didn't expect how the mood of that scene took a quick turn. I like those childhood photos pasted on the dressing table mirror. (Partly because it's cute) It's a form of showing how much of a sentimental person Michelle Chan is, which fully explains why she strongly object to selling the flat her parents left her in the first place. There was much pleasure watching the facial expressions of the cast and the way the camera pans/zoom in to the expressions of the character who portrayed the inner feelings very well. The power I hear in their voices and the story the actors/actress tell with their actions, this is definitely a well casted movie where each cast plays out the character so skillfully. There are amazing twist at each climax, changing the direction and tempo in an unexpected way. From the toy pistol to real pistol to the second entrance of "Ah Tiong"; the hand chopping debate and execution; and from a hostage taker becoming a hostage, these unexpected twists and turns of events increased the tension and kept audience at the edge of their seats without overdoing it. However it's quite funny how the hostages wanted to help the hostage taker instead, and how Onassis trust them to the extent that he could confidently just put down the cleaver on the table behind him and speak to his son even though Terrence Chia(Adrian Pang) was just nearby. Overall, the great cast, wonderful story and beautiful portrayal has made Unlucky Plaza a great movie.

Reviewed by ctowyi 8 / 10 / 10

One of the most enjoyable local film I have seen in a while

Finally, a locally made film that has no ghosts, no frivolous humour, no forced-down-your- throat sentiments, no singing praises of government policies and it is not even arty farty. What it has in spades is a clever social satire wrapped within a tightly-plotted hostage drama with doses of inspired black comedy. This is something you don't see often in a local film. Synopsis - Onassis Hernandez was once the proud owner of Singapore's most popular Filipino diner. But a food poisoning scandal triggered by a disgruntled cook has left him on the brink of bankruptcy. When he is further outdone by a financial scam, Onassis loses it. He takes a group of people hostage in a millionaire's bungalow and the crisis, captured on video, sparks an international outcry. Will Onassis be finally pronounced a victim or a villain? Review - The protagonist may be a Filipino but fear not, this is very much a Singaporean film. I love seeing all the usual stereotypes of our super materialistic and uppity religious society but without all the chest-heaving preachiness. I also love seeing how the movie floats all the usual xenophobic undercurrents in front of us but trusts the audience to make the judgement for themselves. The narrative doesn't play like a straight arrow which does invite some much welcomed pondering. There is done of that "so scare the audience won't understand, let's tell them everything" stance which is such a welcome change. You do have to pay attention to the dialogue and action in order to build information about each character. I don't know about you but for me I love a cerebral exercise anytime and I love it when a director respects the audience. The cast is quite impeccable and every role is cast well. I particularly enjoyed Onassis Hernandez's arc and Epy Quizon plays him marvelously. He essentially plays the biblical Job role where anything that can go wrong goes wrong for him. His desperation feels very real, a superb actor. Elsewhere, I like Adrian Pang's role of a self-serving motivation speaker but I did wish his lines could have been better (my yardstick is Tom Cruise in Magnolia who is hard to beat). "Money blueprint" sounds like some poorly concocted power phrase. I must say, Judee Tan is so good as a spiritually lost adulterous wife that I didn't see any Teo Chew Mui or Riz Low in her at all (her more famous alter-egos). It feels like I am seeing her for the first time. One of things I always tell my kids when it comes to characterization is that the protagonist at the end of the story can never be the same person as he was in the beginning of the story. Ken Kwek's writing is astute in that when all the principals finally reach the hostage drama, every character is rightfully different from when the crisis finally ends. Well, maybe not Guo Liang's ruthless gangster character but he does get his comeuppance. Absolutely love the many twists and turns which are never over the top and the black comedy. I especially love that scene where Hernandez brandishes his cleaver named 'Ah Tiong' and commands his hostages to lock the doors, windows and draw the curtains. There are three floors of this! Where the movie falters for me is a couple of scenes of the general public demonstrating and the destruction of Hernandez's diner. If you live here long enough, you will know that that never happens. Still, nothing much takes away from my enjoyment of this refreshing local film which truly resonated with me. I love Ilo Ilo (2013) but I knew then I would never want to watch it again. But in the case of Unlucky Plaza I would gladly sit through this again.

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