Dangerous Flowers (Review)
Charlie’s Angels left a legacy of countless imitators. The original series spawned many copycats, and the recent movies also spawned copies. As the new movies decided to be action comedies, so did many of the copycat movies. And since the new movies decided to not be very good, the copycats decided to one-up them and be even worse! One of those copies is reviewed here today. The 2006 film from Thailand was originally entitled Chai Lais or Chai Lais Angels, and eventually became known as Dangerous Flowers. I wonder what the “Chai Lai” trying to sound like… Charlie’s Angels copies from Asia are vary common, we even reviewed Asian Charlie’s Angels a while back. We get five beautiful Thai women who fight crime, fail at their missions, and blow stuff up. The film begs you to not take it seriously, yet then throws in a few people getting killed violently just to screw with you.
The film has a few quirks in the subtitles, firstly they refer to the girls as “chai Lais”, notice how the first letter of chai is not capitalized. It never is, but the L in Lai is always capitalized. I don’t know what that means, but it probably means something stupid. So we’ll got with it for the entire review. Take that, bad subtitles!
We got five Angels, excuse me, FLOWERS, who we will just hit the Roll Call for now, as well as the peripheral characters. The film is forgettable, unexceptional, and nothing you haven’t seen before. Unless you are blind, in which case you probably aren’t reading this anyway. Or are you?
I was unable to identify Krit Sripoomsed who was playing Chen (who the Hell was Chen?) nor Narawan Techaratanaprasert or Nithichai Yotamornsunthorn, neither of which are listed as anyone. Any help, please email me! Why is it so hard to find out these actors?
We start on a passenger plane (so we aren’t even going to pretend we aren’t ripping off the Charlie’s Angels movie) where a bad dude and his cross-dressing henchman take a little girl named Miki and her mom hostage, calling the father. The father has his own problems, a dude is menacing him, but the father tries to take the gun and ends up getting shot. Agent Rose with a gun also enters the premises and gets into a fight with a second goon in the father’s house. The daughter Miki gets understandably upset her dad is shot and stabs the hostage taker in the hand (graphic!) which sets off a fight on the plane where all sorts of random people begin punching and kicking each other. Several of the flight attendants are fighting with several passengers. I am guessing the hot girls who are the flight attendants are the heroes and everyone else is bad. Not that I really know what is going on, because it is just some random people beating the crap out of each other. The only clues are that I have watched this film in its entirety before writing this, thus I know some of them are chai Lai. Flight attendant Hibiscus accidentally kisses some guy who we find out later is another cop (yet he does nothing during this whole hostage and brawl crisis.) Yes, let’s slow down the fight scene of confusion for that!
Rose guts the goon in the house with a giant machete, but then she must chase after a car driven by the goon who shot the dad. Rose crashes her car head on into the goon’s, but he has an SUV compared to her sports car so he can drive off. Instead of escaping he tries to run her down, but she pulls her gun from her leg holster and fires, flipping his car and making it leak gasoline. Gasoline that gets ignited another gun shot or two later. The SUV explodes like it’s an exploding pile of explosive explosions, but the driver managed to escape during the long dramatic sweeping arcs the female agent was doing to aim her gun at the SUV. Thank goodness we got a chai Lai agent to act as executioner for the law. Back on the plane there is still a bunch of confused fighting. I’ve given up trying to figure out who is good or bad. The fight has some slapstick thrown in with funny sound effects in case you can’t figure out it is supposed to be funny. That’s not a good sign of how intelligent they assume the audience is. (well, the target audience is people who liked both Charlie’s Angels films…)
Crime boss Dragon yells at his men at a meeting. Dragon likes to wear flamboyant suits, here he has a yellow and orange outfit. The transvestite henchman is named King Kong, and she blames the chai Lais for their problems. The SUV driver is also at the meeting, and another person soon barges in–the mom who was taken hostage on the plane! She’s in league with Dragon. We eventually find out they are looking for the Andaman Pearl, which only the dead father and his daughter Miki know the location of.
The Bosley character tells the girls that it is okay that they failed on their first mission. Sure, Miki’s dad is dead and the goons on the plane escaped the plane somehow despite it being an enclosed environment. The new plan is to guard Miki at school, because she holds the secret of the Andaman Pearl. You know what that is, right? Of course you do! So we don’t need to explain it. (That’s what the movie thinks, at least, and we don’t find out what it does for another hour!) Lotus will be disguised as a teacher, Spadix will be disguised as a Tuk-Tuk driver, complete with mustache (Tuk-Tuks are those motorcycle cars that are popular in Thailand and Vietnam and similar areas.) Rose was going to be a stall seller, but due to her whining about being a high society girl she instead dresses up like some Foxy Brown clone. Pouy-sian will be the food vender instead, and Hibiscus will be a maid because of her hillbilly face. That’s the reason Bosley gives, don’t get mad at me!
All this planning is for naught, as the girls fail to keep Miki safe the first day, and she’s kidnapped by some guys in a van with machine guns. The only reason many of the chai Lais are not dead is the criminals decide to not shoot their weapons at the girls for some reason. Probably because it would be a quick movie. So the girls give chase, there are some stunts with Pouy-sian on top of the van as the baddies try to get her off. Eventually, Hibiscus gets freed from the van (Beep! Beep! Back the truck up! I didn’t even notice Hibiscus got kidnapped. What kind of lame movie is this where you don’t even notice the villains grabbing one of the main girls? They never showed both hostages in the same shot. Lame.) Hibiscus then pulls a rocket launcher out of Rose’s car and shoots it at the van. At this moment I was wondering what their plan was as Miki is still in the van, except Hibiscus remembers Miki is in the van right after she fires! Luckily for them the van swerves and the rocket hits the Tuk-Tuk that Spadix was driving instead, and that explodes with a bigger blast that Hiroshima. I never knew those tiny vehicles were so explosive. The van escapes because suddenly a train goes by. Damn trains! Always ruining stuff.
For those of you keeping score, the chai Lais have failed all of their missions so far. Luckily Miki isn’t a wimp and beats up the people who kidnapped her until Dragon ties her up and threatens her. Miki’s evil step-mom Ms. Mei Ling pretends to get beaten up so Miki will reveal the location of the Andaman Pearl, but Miki’s loyalty to her father is strong. The chai Lai have a meeting where they are all dressed in blue for some random reason, and Bosley has changed his hair color. Subtitles tell us that the Pearl is “very crucial for poising the ocean”. I love terrible subtitles.
The movie kicks it up into fan-service mode as the chai Lais get into a fight in a spa while all of them wear nothing but towels. Ms. Mei Ling and King Kong are also dressed in towels during the fight. Guess which character I don’t want to drop their towel during the fight. Bodyguards in suits also join in, most noticeable is one goon that is a woman in a suit, as she puts up the longest resistance. The fight spills into some building with an escalator that will allow some attempts at choreography. During the ruckus Ms. Mei Ling gets into her car and menaces the cop who kissed Hibiscus in the beginning of the film. That gives Hibiscus a chance to save her man who isn’t her man yet. Back at the fight, one larger goon in a suit is using a midget goon in a suit as a weapon (Okay, this whole sequence is pretty good but it is also the highlight of the film) and King Kong escapes (nod to movie intentional.) Dragon continues to be angry because all he does is get angry.
King Kong hires the five-nation bounty hunters to finish the chai Lai off. Are they related to the Seven-Nation Army from that White Stripes song? Rose’s boring boyfriend Gud asks her to marry him, but we find out he doesn’t even know what she does for a living. Gud is a good man anyway (BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Bad pun!) but he also has a target on his back for some reason… Rose dances in her underwear back home (copying Cameron Diaz butt-shaking but thankfully without a creepy movie review from Harry Knowles to make us all feel dirty) and the others see her. Everyone is upset because of what might happen to the chai Lais if she gets married (and presumably leaves the team) which is odd because Lotus is sad about men – her husband was killed on their wedding day by a female assassin (Holy Kill Bill, Batman!) Thus you think the team would have dealt with this before.
We are all interrupted when goons arrive with beaten Gud, a one-eyed goon who looks like Sanjaya Malakar leading them. The girls end up fighting their way into the swimming pool, as there is a secret escape hatch in there. The exit is in a medieval castle (the kind that litter Thailand I’m sure) that is filled with weapons the girls stock up on, because King Kong is outside with the five-nation assassins. The battles are:
Rhythm gymnastics assassin lady(?!) vs Rose
Overly Japanese samurai chick vs Pouy-sian
Ancient Chinese kung fu guy vs Lotus
Bald black guy who screams a lot vs Spadix
There is no 5th assassin unless it is the new character Kathleen (or Kathaleen depending on the subtitler’s mood that day) who is a goofy cross-eyed assassin girl that becomes King Kong’s sidekick. Notice how Hibiscus didn’t get someone to fight in this lineup. All the girls are captured in a cage except Hibiscus. She arrives in a tank and blows up a bunch of goons who come near, freeing the rest of the girls. Gud still kidnapped despite the fact the girls escaped and won the fight. It’s like they fail on purpose to protect others.
The baddies send Rose one of Gud’s fingers – except it is not his finger but his ring on a random finger. What is this, some Big Lebowski nonsense? If the chai Lais try to trade their dirty undies for Gud, well, the Internet taught me there is a fetish for everyone. No one wonders how Dragon got the mailing address for the secret chai Lai hideout, nor figures that may lead to bad guys attacking said hideout. The chai Lais decide not to love anyone again because of Gud’s plight, except for Hibiscus who isn’t there again and is schmoozing with her cop boytoy. New orders are given to the girls from Mr. Somsak (their Charlie) by iPod. Buy an iPod today for your loved ones, before someone cuts off their fingers. The iPod product placement only slightly less obvious than in Blade 3 or American Idol.
The baddies get the idea the Andaman Pearl is on an island called Thai Baht due to Miki, and the chai Lais watch them arrive on a boat (in bikinis for the eye candy, but no word on how the chai Lais knew to be there except magic.) The baddies find the Andaman Pearl (which the subtitles have now decided to call Queen of Andaman – It doesn’t help me keep track of the plot when the main item’s name is constantly changing throughout the film!) and escape with it despite three bikini-clad chai Lais arriving to fight with them.
Suddenly a girl is dancing in a bubble, everyone is wearing formal wear, some sort of gala is going on. We’re going all WTF all of a sudden: there are dancers, all the bad guys, cops arriving, and the chai Lais are undercover. I think the movie just decided it was time to end and suddenly switched tracks to an alternate universe where a Rush Hour-style final sequence had been set up, as opposed to the prior strategy of random crap thrown in random directions by the screenwriter monkeys. Soon an old British Guy will be revealed to be the secret head of the Chinese Triads or something. There is an auction going on for the Pearl, and Miki’s father arrives as a surprise bidder, only he’s accosted by Dragon’s goons. Talk about your bidding wars, this never happens on eBay! Okay, it happened once, but I really needed that Megatron in the original package!
The chai Lais enter the arena, and there is about two seconds of a subplot about Dragon having a son with Downs Syndrome before it is discarded (something tells me there is a chunk of this movie on a cutting room floor in Thailand) and mass confusion explodes all over the film as the shootout ending starts.
Ms. Mei Ling shoots Gud in the back in cold blood, so Rose guns her down and the SUV driver guy just because he’s there. Gud is dead and the campy fun film turned horribly tragic for a few moments. But forget the pain, as three chai Lais (Pouy-sian, Spadix, and Lotus) chase Dragon. He has the Andaman Pearl and Miki hostage, King Kong also arrives where Dragon is with some random goons to add a larger shootout to the proceedings. Dragon heads to the roof for a helicopter escape, and Lotus chases, because she knows the Pearl will explode if it is not put back in the ocean. That’s odd, because: A- We’ve never been told this before, all we knew was it had something to do with balancing the ocean. B- The Andaman Pearl was buried in the sand, so it never was in the ocean in the first place! What the Smurf-Frak?? My theory is the script was written by the guy from Momento, thus explaining why things seem to be forgotten or changed at random.
Final fight time as it is Lotus vs. Dragon, King Kong vs. Miki, and the other girls vs. many goons. The many goons are defeated, and Dragon shot in the head (twice) by Lotus as the film suddenly becomes pretty graphic and dark for a few seconds before returning to the fluff. Kathleen shoots King Kong many times in hilarious ways, which contrasts oddly with how dark and brutal Dragon’s shooting death was, or the sadness of Gud’s death by being shot in the back. The director needs to decide how he’s going to portray violence, you can’t go all multiple choice about shooting people in the same film, it’s confusing. Now, everyone bad is dead so the day is saved.
At the end, Bosley has another hair style. Also Kathleen was a spy, and he’s going ot marry her! What in the world? Miki joins the chai Lai, and they get sent to find Osama Bin Laden! The credits promise the next mission: chai Lai goes to battle. We end with shots of girls dressed in white with machine guns fighting on the Afghan beaches near the Afghan jungles… Well, it doesn’t end, this sequence goes on for several minutes. Way to run the joke into the ground. And way to have the chai Lais gun down lots of Thai members of the Taliban. I’m sure all light-hearted spy spoofs need war sequences at the end to deaden the light mood, with long shots of teenage girls mowing down men with machine guns.
Speaking of deaden, Dangerous Flowers did a good job of deadening my enthusiasm for Thai cinema. It shows the industry is perfectly capable of making a film that is just as bad as an American blockbuster style-before-substance film. That is the one type of American film I wish the other countries didn’t try to emulate. The greatest crime Dangerous Flowers committed was that it was too much like the films it was emulating. When you want to be like crap, don’t be surprised when you smell. Thank goodness I watched Chocolate right after this!
Rated 4/10 (Boyfriend, Wig!, Evil Bumblebee, Batusi)
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