Film Review: Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss Part 1 (Indonesia, 2016)

Starring Indonesia’s top talents – Vino BastianTora SudiroAbimana AryasatyaIndro and Arie KritingWarkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 1 is both promising and disappointing. Find out what we like and don’t about the long awaited remake of Indonesia’s best comedy franchise.

Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 1 is an adaptation of the country’s much praised comical legend, Warkop DKI by Anggy Umbara, Benedion Rajagukguk, and Andi Awwe Wijaya.

It tells a story of security officers Dono (Abimana Aryasatya), Kasino (Vino Bastian) and Indro (Tora Sudiro). One day the three troublemakers find themselves in 8 billion rupiah debt while chasing a pickpocket (Arie Kriting). The film then presents Dono, Kasino and Indro’s hilarious effort to get out of the difficult times, their encounter with future Indro and their endless bickering with their boss.

To be honest there isn’t much narrative progression. But it’s a known fact that Warkop DKI films – especially from the 90s, do not owe its fame to its script. Instead viewers love to indulge on Dono’s, Kasino’s and Indro’s innocent yet silly and mischievous acts. Every Indonesian would remember how much they laughed at the trio’s bad luck, and how they funnily turned the lemons life gave them into lemonade.

Dono, Kasino and Indro were often commended on their ability to make people laugh with a series of unfortunate but hilarious incidents that somehow follows them wherever they go. We love how they would be “punished” for their crude sexist remarks on the female characters. Sadly, the recent adaptation doesn’t live up to its original reputation. Warkop DKI Reborn Kasino’s remarks and objectification on Rihanna is both offensive and disappointing.

While the past series are easy to digest and effortlessly funny, director Anggy Umbara tried too hard to make Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss Part 1 stand out. Some of the comical comments such as “Why catch Pokemon? We should catch corruptors,” by Kasino are too short and easily missed. Which is a real pity because they could be enjoyed more otherwise.

The same goes with the future Indro’s (Indro) appearance in bright costumes as Katy Perry and Minion. Though the caricature image of Indro at the beginning filled the cinema with laughter, after some time Indro’s repeated appearance is not funny anymore. It’s sad to see how the original and legendary cast of Warkop DKI is subtly belittled as part of its narrative. Overall I find the narrative ambitious yet lacking when challenging reality, and exploring time and space.

Many viewers are also disappointed at the script for another reason. Though we can see a number of comedic techniques such as slapstick and critics on the film, Warkop DKI reborn relies highly on its references of the past jokes and Internet memes. Viewers who aren’t familiar with those references wouldn’t be able to appreciate the film as much. Meanwhile, viewers who are familiar with the materials will be dissatisfied with the element of surprise. Tricky.

It’s undeniable that there are plenty bad Warkop DKI films, and all Anggy did was borrow its highly praised formula. So why all the disappointments and critics?

I know, there are many areas of improvements, and Anggy could have more focus on nostalgia. I personally enjoy it while reminiscing its past glory. But not everyone could do the same, and that is the hardest challenge Anggy and his team has to face for this remake – living up to the former glory and expectations. Let’s give him and his mates some credits. At least till part 2.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)