The Magnificent Five
The Magnificent Five is a 2006 action comedy where a group of mismatched heroes band together to rescue children sold into slavery. They learn to work together and laugh and love and all that other crap, all while shooting bad guys. Set in the distant past, Magnificent Five incorporates a Swashbuckling style that seems inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean films while being completely different in plot development and characters.
It is sort of interesting to see the character of Captain Johnson, as he is a totally evil colonial trader dude. It is not that far out of bounds, he could be just the same as the evil British and East India Tea Company characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films, if one were to ignore the history of Thailand and colonialism in South Eastern Asia. As you may or may not know, Thailand was the only country in the area that was never colonized, but the colonies surrounding it were played off of each other by Thai rulers. Thus, unlike films from places such as Indonesia, there is not a whole ton of films where patriotic nationals fight off oppressive colonial forces against long odds. So is Captain Johnson an evil symbol of colonial aggression, or just a handy stereotype to make a bad guy out of? You make the call!
Like many Thai films, the exact translations and spellings of character names is a jumbled mess. So I will be going with a set translation of everyone’s name, but also listing the alternative names for each of the characters. Maybe one day I will bother to learn enough Thai that I will have a set translation scheme preference, but my crippling laziness will probably prevent that from ever happening.
Masked female crimefighters used to populate Cantonese cinema like the buffalo used to inhabit the Great Plains. Then all the buffalo got shot, and all the female crimefighters stopped being popular after the Shaw Brothers helped eclipse Cantonese cinema. But in the late 1980s, Cantonese cinema came roaring back and by the early 90s, there were lots of action films being pumped out. So it only makes sense that there would suddenly be a masked female crimefighter film in the middle of the action fest, as the buffalo have come back. Sure, this analogy is a stretch, but just go with it!
Like many Hong Kong films from the 1990s, Midnight Angel has a billion titles, including Justice Women, Wu ye tian shi, Ng ye tin si, and The Legend of Heroism.
Our copy is an exciting VHS dub, complete with extra darkness and soft images. So don’t complain about the quality, because I’ll just ignore those complaints as that’s how we roll at TarsTarkas.NET.
My Girlfriend Is an Agent
Kicking it old school TarsTarkas.NET as we go over a Korean romantic comedy, something we haven’t done in over four years. Oddly enough, there hasn’t been a lot of good Korean romantic comedies in the past four years (although there are several from back then we haven’t covered and might get to eventually.) But retro TarsTarkas.NET is where we are right now!
This is a return of the kind of quality we took for granted from Korea for a few years, but then the industry crashed and the flow of great films slowed to a trickle. Still, some great films came out, and we hope that the slow trickle will once again turn into a mighty Mississippi again.
My Girlfriend is an Agent had great use of editing. I specifically enjoyed the use of flashbacks/scene cuts to complement dialogue. I personally find that smart filmmaking, though I know there are people who don’t like it. But screw them, this is my website! There is also some nice splitscreen editing.
The Korean title 7Keup Kongmuwon means literally 7th level civil servant – in South Korea the ranking of public servants starts from 9th (lowest) on down to 1st (highest). Now you are an expert in Korean culture and should go out and eat some kimchi.
Raging Phoenix is film a mix of romance and action, which garnered many reviews that weren’t that positive, largely due to disappointment it wasn’t another non-stop action film. I feel that there was plenty of action and am not really sure what all the complaints are about. I suspect it is more due to the length of time between action sequences making the film seem longer than it is.
Basically, people are complaining because this film has a plot longer than one sentence!
Now, a plot is not a bad thing, but the plot here has character arcs and an underlying plot that factors into the finale. It is constructed just fine, and try as I might I just can’t see why this was given such a harsh response. It wasn’t Chocolate 2 and it didn’t try to be, and it is unfair to expect it to be when it is screaming at you that it isn’t.
But it was too late, the bad reviews sunk in and it failed to reach No. 1 at the Thai box office on its opening weekend, losing out to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which was in its second week. Sure, people still don’t like this film for a variety of reasons, but as I am not one of them I can’t speak as to specifics beyond the general tone of the film.
Raging Phoenix is known in Thailand as Jija Deu Suay Du, which means Jija: Stubborn, Beautiful and Fierce. As Jija’s character is named Deu, that means her character name is Stubborn. This role is a change of direction for Jija, as it involving acting beyond playing someone with emotional issues. She had to actually become a real person, which I think she pulled off rather well.
The director, co-writer and co-editor was Rashane Limtrakul, who had his debut film in 1995 (Romantic Blue) and then directed nothing until this 2009 feature. That’s about all I know about him.
This is probably the only film you have seen featuring mayraiyuth, the drunken Thai martial art. Unless you are a big fan of drunken Thai martial arts movies, in which case you would have seen more than this one and made my statement false. How dare you, sir!
But enough of the rantin’, let’s get to the reviewin’!
First up is the Roll Call, because we can’t have a review without it due to my deep mental issues of wanting formatting that makes the reviews take ten times longer than they should!