We might not be as famous as our neighbours to the north and south globally
(Thailand has all the beautiful beaches and Singapore all the cool urban
settings, the way Hollywood sees it) but our beautiful country has cropped up
in numerous movies over the years, be it in Hollywood, Kollywood, Bollywood or
In celebration of this year’s Malaysia Day, we take a look at movies
that have featured, mentioned or filmed right here in Malaysia. We’ll list down
10 such movies from the past decade (so, sorry, no Jackie Chan’s “Police Story”
or Chow Yun-Fat and Jodie Foster’s “Anna and the King”).
Malaysians were in for a very nice surprise when they sat down for their
initial viewing of the “Train to Busan” sequel, “Peninsula” (also goes by
“Train to Busan Presents Peninsula”). One of the (human) characters in the
zombie movie turned out to be a Malaysian, played by Malaysia’s very own TV
and theatre actress Bella Rahim!
In the photo above, shared by Bella on her Facebook, a Malaysian badge can be
seen on her United Nations (UN) uniform. Though in the movie it only flashed
onscreen for mere seconds, eagle-eyed cinephiles spotted it nonetheless.
While “Venom” opens with a dramatic scene of a spaceship crash in Sarawak, the
Sony/Marvel film was never actually filmed in Malaysia. All its “Malaysian”
locations were shot in a couple of locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
That doesn’t damper our Malaysian pride in it though, since we do get to
witness Sibu and the Malay language being mentioned and spoken in the
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
To mention all the locations the “Crazy Rich Asians” cast and crew filmed at
in Malaysia would fill up a whole ‘nother list. Despite being Singapore-set,
most of its scenes were filmed here instead.
Among them are Langkawi (shown above, which stood in for Pulau Rawa, an actual
island in Johor), Carcosa Seri Negara (as the fictional Tyersall Park) and
Penang’s Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (for that scene with aunties playing
Granted, even without being its major filming location, this Hollywood movie
is already a win in most Malaysians’ book since it stars our very own
Sarawakian-British leading man Henry Golding.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Even though our iconic twin towers only appeared for a bit in the trailer for
“Independence Day: Resurgence” and it wasn’t even geographically accurate,
we’ll take that cameo!
The gif above shows a snippet of the trailer that shows our nation’s most
famous landmark getting destroyed during an alien attack on earth and
dramatically falling into the River Thames. Director Roland Emmerich did
explain in an interview that it was his idea for iconic landmarks from Asia to
be sucked up by the alien spaceships only to be thrown later in other parts of
the world. Makes sense.
That poster says it all. Our nation’s iconic landmark makes its appearance
again, immediately notifying viewers where superstar Rajinikanth shot this
action-packed movie of his.
Aside from holding a premiere in Malaysia, “Kabali” was also dubbed in Malay
so it can be further enjoyed by non-Tamil speakers. This marks the first ever
Indian movie to be dubbed into the Malay language, but not surprising
considering how much Malaysians, young and old, love Rajinikanth.
Another movie starring another Hemsworth brother also features Malaysia! Chris
Hemsworth took a break from mesmerising everyone with his flowing blond hair
and flying hammer to play a furloughed convict solving a case of high-level
computer hacking in “Blackhat”.
The “Thor” star was spotted filming scenes in various locations in the
country, including a car chase in Taman Jaya as well as a bank scene and
streets scene in Kuala Lumpur.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Malaysia, as seen in the music video above for the
OST of the Hindi movie, “Roy”. Arjun Rampal plays a womanising filmmaker who
heads to Malaysia to shoot the third movie in his trilogy. Here he meets
Jacqueline Fernandez’s also filmmaker character and love blooms between the
two, of course.
The movie is not only set in Malaysia but also filmed entirely here, in our
two most famous filming locations: Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.
Playing It Cool (2014)
Thor was not the first Avenger to feature Malaysia in his movie. No, that
honour goes to Captain America and Falcon.
Though this is considered a cameo at best, Malaysians still collectively lost
it when Anthony Mackie repeated our country’s name over and over in the
trailer, while Chris Evans just smirks when he hears it. That was cool!
The Viral Factor (2012)
The above image is probably the most overused whenever “The Viral Factor” is
mentioned but we can’t help it, there’s just such pride in seeing a Polis
Diraja helicopter in the background as Jay Chou strikes a cool pose in front
This movie was largely filmed in Kuala Lumpur, so fans must have had a fun
time watching Jay Chou and Nicholas Tse run around in places like Pavilion
shopping mall and KL Sentral.
Don 2 (2011)
That prison scene? Any of them inmates could’ve (maybe) shivved Shah Rukh Khan
for real because some of them were actual prisoners!
While the first movie, 2006’s “Don”, featured Malaysia more prominently as it
chose places like the twin towers (of course) and Langkawi (of course) to film
at, the sequel was less so. The only Malaysian filming location was the prison
in Malacca with, again, real inmates as extras.