The blurb informs potential viewers that it is loosely based on the Malasian 16th Century document “Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa”, a collection of stories surrounding Merong Mahawangsa, a direct descendant of Alexander the Great. Amongst his battles and deeds of glory journeying him from Rome to Asia, he allegedly founded the Kingdom of Langkasuka and ruled as the first Hindi King. For those who don’t know, the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa is traditionally a verbal recollection told from generation to generation, so its expected that there are mystical elements which may not be logical or historically correct.
The Malay Chronicles - Bloodlines is an epic fantasy romance, liberally sprinkled with marital arts action, things blowing up, gallons of blood gushing from sword wounds and plenty of slow motion screams of angst in the pouring rain.
The story is set in 20 AD with opening scenes informing the viewer of the political and social unrest occurring in both the great Roman Empire and in Chinas Han Dynasty. Political players decide to unite the two empires through a marriage of convenience that will take place in South East Asia. Of course, both young people (Marcus and Meng )are duty bound to bide to the wishes of their rulers and vow to uphold their part, however much they are appalled by the barbarism of their new partner.
After adventures on the seas (where they pick up Merong from a Goa market place), advance parties set up camp and begin to prepare for the wedding. Marcus and Meng, desperate for freedom, find one another beside a stream and discover that they have alot in common.
Pirates kidnap the Chinese Princess and demand ransom. This brings Merong into the forefront to fight for her freedom. There are alot of large scale fight scenes, wizened old men prophesying, sorcery and bloodshed. Most of the army on both sides die on the beach or in the mud, allowing over dramatic cries of revenge (usually done on bent knee in the rain) Its a little predictable but well wort the ride.
The film is a mix of English and Ancient Malay (with subtitles) which is quite jarring and odd in many places. Its credited to be the first Malaysian language feature to be released on the Blu-ray format. From a country who normally churns out horror or comedy films, this was an ambitious project to take on.
Despite this, its a simple story with big fight sequences, blood, swords, sorcery and martial arts. If you are looking for a movie to suit everyone in your group, it doesn’t get better than this. You may not be intellectually challenged as a result of watching the movie, but there are plenty of fight scenes which will make up for this loss. Boosted by use of CGI special effects, though not as sophisticated as many Hollywood Movies, it will suit many genre lovers.