Written by Ahmed Essam El-Sayed
If you want to get hooked and devour your popcorn so quickly you choke on it while laughing, gasping, and weeping, then look no further. Al-Ekhteyar 2, directed by Peter Mimi, written by Hany Sarhan, starring mega-stars Kareem AbdElAziz, and Ahmed Mekky, is this year’s colossal budget action favourite.
Al-Ekhteyar 2 picks up the story from the previous season, following a couple of different unsung heroes of the police – as opposed to last season’s army soldiers – in battling and preventing the forces of evil from sending our country into certain oblivion. Documenting actual recent events that some of us witnessed and weaving them ever so cleverly into the lives of our two fictional main characters, police officers Zakaria Younes (Abdelaziz) and Yousef El-Refaii (Mekky). The plotline also follows them through their personal trials and tribulations as they face explosions, riots, the loss of friends and family, and rough times with their significant others.
The two leading men serve authentic and moving performances. The cast also includes a very relatable and funny Asmaa Abu-Elyazid, playing the role of Alyaa, Yousef’s love interest. Most swoons come from their scenes together. Eiad Nassar, in the part of Mohammed Mabrook, balances expositional scenes with superb craftsmanship, injecting them with emotional undertones that are never boring and always a joy to watch. His scenes with Abdelaziz almost always induce the most laughs. Bushra and Injie el-Mokaddem, as Mabrook and Zakareya’s respective wives, are faced with numerous master scenes throughout the series, which they executed perfectly.
The incredible attention to detail that this series has is crucial to its format. As the ever so evolved director, Mimi cuts seamlessly between documentary footage of the real events and footage shot for the series. If it wasn’t for the disclaimer that is shown at the bottom of the screen stating that these are shots taken from reality, you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which. This technique immerses you in the events of the series as if they are occurring at that very moment right before your eyes, which doubles the emotional impact, and your involvement as a viewer.
The long list of star cameos make it all the more exciting and helps you connect faster with the characters. It also keeps you asking who the next star cameo will be? And it never fails to surprise. This season’s urban aesthetic is a switch from last season’s desert mood, which forced an overall yellowish hue over all of the scenes to reflect the experience of the army soldiers spending most of their time immersed in sand. On the other hand, this season has a colder de-saturated hue, to reflect the dust and concrete the police Special Forces always find themselves thrown into.
Khaled ElKammar’s music is superb, having a really cool bass guitar riff that appears during key scenes, and takes you to the edge of your seats while watching. The episodes’ opening scenes, and cliffhanger endings, make this a binge-able series in every way. While it is highly recommended, it might be a little hard to follow if you have little to no info about the history of the events it captures. It might also help if you have watched the first part, as the characters mention certain people, or events, only to rely on the viewer’s personal knowledge.
All in all, Al-Ekhteyar 2 is this year’s action filled tear-jerker. Certain moments spread throughout the series will have you laughing out loud, cheering, and glued to the screen while on the edge of your seat. With a box of tissues right in reach and a pair of headphones over your ears, you’re ready to push play on a life-changing journey that will make you fall in love with Egypt over and over again.
If you like this, you might consider watching: El Gama’a, Hagma Mortada, El Khaleyya