Sisu and Dreamscape entertainment produced this romantic travel comedy drama starring Zanjoe Marudo and Lovi Poe. It was shot entirely in Italy and was directed by Connie Macatuno.
He is Tiago, the regular rough and tough rebel who disagrees with his parents’ way of living and aspires to become his own man by becoming financially independent. She is Laya, the caring and nurturing daughter who gives up her own desires for the betterment of her own family.
Their first encounter on the port was rather cute with the display of alpha male masculinity and feminine luring. He adores the homey Filipina principles that she represents as he feels that she grounds him when they’re together. She is attracted to his rebellious nature while feeling secure around his bravery like a trench coat on a cold winter’s night. When both are together, they feel as if their fate is constantly being twisted. Time drifts them apart.
It’s the contrast we usually see in most romantic movies. This is the formula that intensifies scenes and ignites flames. Forbidden love is so compelling to fight for, because we see the obstacles and rewards in plain sight.
What’s different here, is not so different from what we usually see in Filipino travel romances. Barcelona with Kathniel, My Ex and Whys with Lizquen and I Love You Goodbye with Alden and Kathryn all had this formula but they made sure to explore the area that audiences cared the most and make it more interesting than the competition – the relationship.
While the production team who traveled abroad enjoy showing off the culture, food and history of the foreign country that they consumed, the audience would like to know more about the intimate relationship that the couple is sharing. We would want to know more about why they enjoy each other’s company. We would want to see more of their chemistry on screen. We need less filler montages of the country and less of the underdeveloped characters that only seem to serve the plot.
If you’re craving to see another romantic travel movie, Malaya will serve you for the time being. But if you’re craving for the next standout in this genre – look somewhere else or rewatch an old classic.
Malaya gets a 6/10
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