Lebuhraya Ke Neraka
Director: Mamat Khalid
Cast: Awie, Khir Rahman
There’s nothing like the idea of suffering in the afterlife that puts the fear of mortality in people. Mamat Khalid who is famous for comedic fare like Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah and Man Laksa serves a new movie about faith, featuring five bikers on a literal highway to hell.
Lebuhraya Ke Neraka stars Datuk Awie as Bob, a biker leading four friends to their destination when trouble strikes.
One of them starts spewing blood.
Then everyone but Bob begins to show awful signs of death, from their pale complexion to rotting skin and losing the taste for worldly pleasures such food and cigarette.
If you have to know why this is happening to them, let’s just say they’ve commited more than just the seven deadly sins.
Things get worse when some of Bob’s friends don’t remember how to recite religious verses that could spare them from all the suffering.
Then comes Tyson (Khir Rahman in an excellent scene-stealing role), a devil in human form looking to lead Bob and friends away from salvation.
Bob has apparently repented from his past indulgent behaviour but Tyson is never gonna give him up.
Apparently, they had a deal and Tyson is bent on taking Bob to hell. How will Bob prove that he deserves another day on earth?
Thanks to a spectacular soundtrack by Space Gambus Experiment, it’s not hard to get lost in the otherwordly realm that Mamat has created for the movie.
The road to hell is full of darkness with some quirky lost souls as a haunting reminder that our time on earth is only temporary.
Despite its spiritual theme, Lebuhraya Ke Neraka does not feel preachy. There is no holier-than-thou figure or hard-hitting moral of the story that Mamat is trying to impart to viewers.
Mamat illustrates his message through Bob – a relatable man who’s sinned and is now trying his best not to stray from his faith.
Of course Bob starts to have doubts when he is visited by Tyson, who is funny, edgy, has flashy cars and enjoys rock concerts.
It’s so easy for the audience to forget that Tyson’s end goal is preventing Bob from taking the straight path.
However, at times, Lebuhraya Ke Neraka feels like an over-extended version of Tanah Kubur, a popular religious TV drama often depicting how some people suffer as they are about to die.
Apart from Bob and Tyson, the other characters are just your typical carefree youth who hang on to you-only-live-once motto.
Their personalities are just too stereotypical as the bad boys and girls. I was hoping this film would take a more complex approach, showing how sinners could be just about anyone.
Bob tries to reason with Tyson, asking for his friends to be spared because they need time to learn. But there is no grey area for his friends… there is only action and consequences.
Or is it? I guess the best thing about Lebuhraya Ke Neraka is that it leaves you pondering questions like, why does Bob deserve a second chance and is hell really all that bad when you’ve got a fun guy like Tyson waiting on the other side? Who knows.
All I know is that we have to accept death as part of life. Fear is not the afterthought in Lebuhraya Ke Neraka, but maybe a burning desire to ask yourself what you can do to make the most out of life.