aka This Girl Is Bad-Ass aka จั๊กกะแหล๋น
Directed by Petthai “Mum Jokmok” Wongkumlao
Everyone who reads this site regularly (all four of you!) knows that TarsTarkas.NET has been following the career of Jeeja Yanin Vismitananda (or however her name is spelled this week!) From Chocolate to Raging Phoenix, we’ve watched her kick people in the head again and again. And now, with Jakkalan, there is more kicking of heads. But not that much more. And mostly weirdo Thai comedians being weird Thai comedians. So, it is disappointing, to say the least. A waste of time, to be more wordsmithy. Something to actively avoid, to be long-winded. That’s not really that long, but you get the idea.
With the overseas name This Girl Is Bad-Ass, the distributors are obviously capitalizing on Jeeja’s popularity in the West as a cult female action star. The problem is most of the film is barely about her. I am not sure how this is going to get cut for overseas, because besides the lack of Jeeja and lack of fighting scenes, the rest of the film is Thai comedy, and that rarely translates well to Western audiences in the best of films. In Jakkalan, it’s mostly dialogue comedy, which translates even worse, and beyond worse if you’re watching with no subtitles like I did (at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!) What is weird is I am against cutting foreign films for American markets just on principle, so I’m technically against the only thing that could save Jakkalan. It’s like Sophie’s Choice! Jakkalan’s Choice.
Jakkalan tries to do too much while also wandering around and not doing much of anything. Director Mum threw in so many random comedians who all get screentime, screeching the film to a halt as everyone acts goofy and does goofy things. That’s great and all, but we came for the fighting! But we’re inundated with goofy costumes and goofy voices as every comedian in Thailand has an excuse to run wild playing a gangster.
Jakkalan is raised by her uncle, and we get a several minutes long montages sequence of her growing up. Jakkalan is a tomboy through and through, and spends much of her time beating up bullies and defending the weak. She also spends a lot of her time riding a bike. Uncle runs a street vendor video store and spends most of his time chasing after Jakkalan trying to keep her out of trouble.
Once full grown, Jakkalan is a bike messenger who delivers packages around the city. It’s pretty obvious that shady things are being delivered, and large amounts of money and drugs are trading hands between rival gangs. And Jakkalan gets in on the action of causing trouble with the deliveries after one of the groups tries to rob her. Most of her part of the film is her playing the two sides off of each other until the final confrontation.
Beyond the fighting, Jeeja is obviously swooning for the long-haired rocker boy next door, and actively avoiding the advances of a Suitor with ragged teeth, who spends most of his time around Uncle trying to get advice to date Jakkalan.
But enough of this plot crap, we came for the kicking of heads, and let’s get to the kicking of heads!
14 minutes in, some incompetent idiots are send to get Jeeja, so she uses her bicycle to beat the crap out of them. The fight is pretty good, though she is the only one on the ride and uses it mostly as a weapon. The bicycle fight sequence in Project A is in no danger of being eclipsed. But there are a few good shots.
Next up is 35 minutes in, where Jeeja fights a lady in a schoolgirl uniform (Alisa Sonthirot – who looks a bit too old to be running around in a schoolgirl uniform) and some random thugs. As this fight takes place in the office of the bike delivery company, there are a lot of bike parts used as weapons including gears as throwing stars. The best part were the bike nuts used as brass knuckles, and how Jeeja deals with a guy with a big magnet. This is the best fight sequence in the film.
But there is no more action until the finale, which happens 1:12 into the film. This features practically every side character in the film showing up at a warehouse and shooting at each other. In between the people I don’t care about shooting at the people I don’t care about, Jeeja fights the schoolgirl again briefly.
At the end, everyone is arrested except Jeeja and her friends. Then the fourth wall is shattered as the actor who was dressed up as a gimp takes off his mask and yells at the film crew during the closing credits. If I spoke Thai, I’m sure I would have found it hilarious. More films need angry tirades against their creators.
But I can’t in good conscious recommend you go see Jakkalan. My advice is to just watch the fights on YouTube and then wait for Chocolate 2 and Tom Yum Goong 2 for Jeeja to kick heads once again.
Rated 3/10 (crush target, tools to help crush faces, so wacky I’m bored…)
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