Home-grown actor Aaron Aziz watched his fair share of Hong Kong gangster movies when he was younger.
"I watched the Young And Dangerous series and when I went to Hong Kong, I expected to see people fighting in the streets. But that didn't happen, of course."
He recounts this to Life! in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur, where he is based, by way of explaining that viewers of his new movie, KL Gangster 2, should not mistake its lurid depiction of gangland as reality.
The highly anticipated follow-up to 2011's KL Gangster, which took RM12million (S$4.6 million) at the box office and is the highest-grossing Malaysian film of all time, opens tomorrow in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
Aaron, 37, and fellow Singaporean actor Adi Putra anchor the film and play a pair of brothers caught up in the seedy underbelly of Malaysia's capital.
While the original film has been praised for being gritty and realistic, Aaron and the film's producer, Datuk Yusof Haslam, insist that the story in the two films depict a hyper-realised and exaggerated version of the world of gangsters in the Malaysian capital city.
"It's fiction, a work of fantasy," says Datuk Yusof, whose son Syamsul Yusof is the director and writer behind the two films.
Indeed it is. KL Gangster 2, a prequel to the first film, features violent street brawls and shoot-outs between warring gang members armed with machine guns. Mob boss Tailong, played by veteran Malaysian actor Rosyam Nor, flies around in a helicopter and fires at his pursuing enemies with a gun in each hand while perched atop a Hummer sport-utility vehicle speeding along a highway.
It is not quite what takes place in Malaysia, even though a spate of real-life shooting cases across the country - believed to involve real-world gangs - has been making headlines in the past few months.