Hailed by critics and audiences as a provocative and ground-breaking Aussie production, the highly-anticipated sequel to the Australian film, The Combination, is set for release in cinemas nationwide on February 7.
The Combination Redemption picks up after six years, where tensions still run high in Sydney’s western suburbs.
Directed by David Field, the film features actors from St George and Sutherland Shire – Neveen Hanna (who plays Menal), Bexley’s Ali Haydar (in the role of Bilal) and the well-known Cronulla boxer, George Kambosos Jr.
The film was produced in Sydney’s west – an ideal backdrop where conflict raises into suburban battle grounds.
Six years have passed, and Lebanese-Australian John Morkos (George Basha) remains haunted by the events that led to the death of his brother. As John begins to rebuild his life, he finds solace in the boxing ring at his local gym.
Meanwhile, a ruthless new crime boss Nas (Johnny Nasser) seeks to expand his empire, and the formation of a radical group of white supremacists threatens to shatter the social fabric of the community.
As gym becomes a focal point of these gathering forces, and the threat to the community begins to escalate, John must come to terms with his past, make the right choices, and take a stand against overwhelming odds.
The original drama was described by movie reviewer David Stratton as “powerfully authentic and beautiful”, and as a “tough-talking film” by Sydney Morning Herald.
It is a first-time role for Ali Haydar, who plays Bilal, the loving brother of the main family that features in the film.
With zero acting experience, Haydar, 28, a scaffolder and personal trainer, is a natural talent on screen.
“It was very exciting,” he said. “I’d never done a film, the most acting I’d done was in drama class back at school.
“I was just posting some sketches and funny videos on social media. A few of my friends said I should give this a shot.”
Haydar describes his character as the “average brother who gets along with everyone”.
“He’s the funny guy at home, but very protective of his family,” he said.
“When the filmmakers sat down and told me about the film, I initially thought this is hardcore. But everything that happens in the movie, is happening today on a cultural, religious and ethnic level, with issues of racism that often exist within Australian society.”