‘Walid’ Is a Curious Mixture of Drama and Fierce Fighting

Ulises Duenas


“Walid” (Outsider Pictures) is one of the strangest martial-arts films I’ve ever seen. Not because of some insane plot or character designs, but how it tries to balance its dialogue and action along with some questionable direction. This Malaysian film is a mixed bag that is disorienting and sometimes hilarious.


Walid is an instructor who teaches kids about the alphabet and the core tenets of being a good citizen. One day his path crosses with a young girl named Aisha who is uneducated and wants to learn how to read. While this is going on, a gang is kidnapping kids for a human-trafficking ring, and it’s in those early stages of the movie that you start to see problems.



The story is told in a non-linear way, which it doesn’t do very well. It’s hard to tell which scenes take place when, and at first it seems like the first few minutes are just showing scenes that will come later, but then it keeps showing sequences that are out of place, so it’s hard to tell what the timeline actually is. It doesn’t add anything to the movie since the dialogue doesn’t do much to play around with the non-linear storytelling.


On top of that, the dialogue is stiff and it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the original script or just due to bad translation. There are several grammatical errors in the subtitles and some lines that don’t make any sense. There’s also a repeated message of doing one’s duty for one’s country throughout the film, which clashes with the rather wacky tone of the fight scenes and over-the-top villains.



All that being said, this movie does have a saving grace and it’s the fight choreography. Roughly half of the scenes in the movie are all back-to-back fights. Aside from Walid, it's hard to tell who the characters in combat are or why they’re even fighting, other than a general “good guys vs. bad guys” thing, but the choreography makes it entertaining. The camera does a good job of following the action, and the sound effects do a decent job of conveying the impact of the blows. So, considering the rest of the film, it’s a definite homerun.


Despite the impressive action, I wouldn’t say that the fight scenes save the film. The movie goes from a slow and confusing drama with subpar acting and some unintentional humor to a series of brawls. If you love martial-arts movies and you’re hungry for something new, then “Walid” is worth a shot – otherwise, it’s not for anyone else.



Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine



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