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Crossroads: One Two Jaga

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Crossroads: One Two Jaga Movie Poster Image
Malaysian crime drama has brutal violence, language.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You can't beat a corrupt system. Never turn down a good thing. Make friends, not enemies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young cop who wants to do things by the book ends up getting angry, seeking violent revenge, proving his character is as corrupt as the less violent cops who just want to take money, let criminals do their things. Criminals who pay off police show a certain honor among their groups. A man who wants to do good never seems to consider negative consequences of his simple-minded quest. 

Violence

A man's beaten, stitched-up face is shown in close-up as he ponders violent and deadly mess his noble intentions have caused. Criminals shoot point-blank, execution-style. A man is shot in the leg. A young boy is shot. Enforcers torture thugs for information, breaking their fingers in a door until they talk. It's implied that a woman is sexually abused by her employer.

Sex
Language

"F--k," "s--t," "damn," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some criminals may be running drugs. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crossroads: One Two Jaga, a Malaysian crime drama with English subtitles, is a story of everyday police corruption. A young police officer with noble intentions is paired with an experienced cop on the take. The latter tries to explain that there's no use arresting criminals who pay off the police since they'll just be released back onto the street the next day. Illegal immigrants and striving legal ones are among the downtrodden abused by this system. Some criminals may be running drugs. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Brutal beatings, shootings, executions, and threats, plus language including "f--k," s--t," and "bitch," make this suitable only for older teens and up. 

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What's the story?

CROSSROADS: ONE TWO JAGA follows two Malaysian cops, a young rookie named Hussein (Zahiril Adzim), who wants to arrest criminals, and his experienced partner, Hassan (Rosdeen Suboh), part of the gang of cops at his precinct on the take, bought and paid for by a group of local criminals into various illegal enterprises. Hassan is older and married with a child and all the demands and financial responsibilities that entails, so he's eager for the extra cash to pay for family niceties. In a parallel story is striving Sugiman (Ario Bayu), an Indonesian legally working in Kuala Lumpur for Sarip (Azman Hassan), a boss overseeing both legal and illegal enterprises. Sarip's son, Adi (Amerul Affendi), is a hot-headed enforcer who does Dad's dirty work and is a manly but bad influence on Sugiman's young son, Joko (Izuan Fitri). Sugiman's sister, Sumiyati (Asmara Abigal), is illegal and when it's implied that she's unhappy in her job because the boss requires she do "work" that may have been sexual, Sarip agrees to help smuggle her back to Indonesia for a hefty fee. When she ventures out of hiding, Hassan and Hussein catch her. Adi humiliates the cops, which sets in motion the story's ultimate tragedy: shootings, beatings, and the death of an innocent.

Is it any good?

The clash between cops and criminals and the corruption of cops on the take are familiar to American audiences, so this one looks a lot like many other movies about such conflicts. But Crossroads: One Two Jaga might be more engaging if it came with some explanations about local issues and customs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and neighboring Indonesia. The meaning of the title itself seems to require more than passing knowledge of the subtleties of Malaysian society, criminal justice, and politics generally. The problem of illegal immigration from impoverished Indonesia certainly has parallels to immigration issues arising in U.S.-Central American relations. 

But director Nam Ron doesn't bother with much specificity here. He prefers stereotypes: a hardworking and impatient father, a corrupt police department, thieves who only have honor among themselves, a rookie cop who wants to follow the law, a desperate illegal immigrant trying to get back home without being arrested. The director doesn't dwell on character development, which is why fans of violent video games may find this familiar. Good guys and bad guys are labeled as such, and when the guns come out, they get aimed at anyone in the way. Teens old enough for the violence and cursing may find the language barrier and lack of relatable characters a deterrent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes police corruption so corrosive to society. When people don't believe in the integrity of law enforcement, do you think law-abiding citizens might be less likely to continue to abide by the law?

  • The culture and language presented here may be unfamiliar to American audiences, but in what ways are the struggles faced by these characters universal? Do you think the immigrants, cops, and criminals who all have money problems deal with them the same way Americans would?

  • Why are there so many movies about crime? What's the appeal? How does Crossroads: One Two Jaga compare to other ones you've seen?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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