aka มือปืน ดาว พระ เสาร์
Written and directed by Yuthlert Sippapak
A mix of violence, love, and raunchy physical comedy, Saturday Killer takes a potpourri approach to story telling, and the resulting mixture was pleasing to my sensory buds. A group of characters with flaws that range from minor to completely cracked,
Saturday Killer is the first released (though second shot) film in director Yuthlert Sippapak’s Killer Trilogy, which consists of the romance story Saturday Killer, the drama Friday Killer, and the comedy Sunday Killer (which hasn’t seen the light of day and I do not know if it ever will!) But don’t fret, we can still hastily assemble a trilogy, I’ll just take the film Headshot and cram it in as entry #3. After all, Headshot features a bald assassin who wants to get out of the business and has Sirin Horwang! But despite Headshot appearing in many festivals and getting praise, I liked Saturday Killer the best of this trio. So let’s champion this mofo!
Yuthlert Sippapak is probably best known in the West for Killer Tattoo and Buppah Rahtree films, but he has made a good deal of films that mash up genres and reference his prior work (or other Thai cinema.) Furthering this, both Saturday Killer and Friday Killer share an action sequence where characters from both interact. Saturday Killer slips easily from comedy to drama to romance to action, sometimes doing all of them in the same scene, and yet nothing feels out of place. Sippapak’s degree in interior design makes itself known in the set designs, which feel like real places and become parts of the movie. The action sequence in an abandoned under construction housing subdivision, where there is nothing but rows of unfinished basements, offers a background not seen before. Tee Rifle’s apartment has his row of mannequin heads each displaying a different wig of increasing ridiculousness, each the many faces Tee Rifle displays to the world. Christ’s modern luxury condo is clean and modern, and sparsely filled, as empty as her life is without love. Politicians sit in expensive office towers, sitting high above the people. Characters going to kill said politicians are angelic and epic, with flowing breeze and strong silhouettes.
Saturday Killer mashes up sexual performance problems, ruthless killing, family obligations, and ill-fated romance and doesn’t miss a beat. Sure, much of the scenes are ridiculous, and some of the humor is more forced, but the majority of what is onscreen entertains, the characters and their goals and obstacles thrown together in their destined conflicts. The result is a unique viewing experience that gives you things you didn’t know you wanted in an assassin film.
Saturday Killer follows Tee Rifle, one of the greatest assassins in Thailand, who leaves a trail of bodies in his wake and fear in the hearts of those who know of his work. But he’s also an overweight, bald, sexually frustrated man who kills more out of a sense of unleashing psychological problems than the money. And yet, Tee Rifle is charming, his broken psyche leaving him open to the sympathies of the audience, while his sexual dysfunctions give us reasons to laugh and to pity.
Tee Rifle begins by ejaculating before he even has an erection, and throughout the film visits various doctors and gurus and shamans, each time trading one problem for another – impotence, engorged swelling, seizures, micropenis. It’s not a good month to be Tee Rifle’s junk. And Tee Rifle hires a prostitute after each technique, but not to sleep with, he just wants to see if his junk works. While this makes Tee Rifle sound like a terrible person, Choosak Iamsook is charming, and Tee Rifle comes off as a worried, insecure man who is a romantic at heart.
Until he’s behind the barrel of a gun, in that case it’s ruthless business. For not only do the targets Tee Rifle is hired to kill fall, but so do all the doctors and health gurus who give him bad medicine. His search for medicine intensifies once he encounters his crush, a dance instructor named Christ. Through complete luck, Tee Rifle keeps running into her, and often enough she remembers him. Christ is estranged from her political leader father (who becomes one of Tee Rifle’s victims – unknowingly by Tee Rifle at the time) and is not quite the innocent civilian she appears. Christ has connections, her government spy agency friend Mei, and vows to kill the person who murdered her father, the assassin Tee Rifle.
Tee Rifle’s love life does give him a change of heart, for soon after Tee Rifle is hired to kill Christ. If he did, there wouldn’t be a movie, but he does take out Christ’s obnoxious boyfriend P’Ake, who turned out to be married. As an emotionally despondent Christ runs into Tee Rifle at the bar again, he refuses to take advantage of her, which is enough for her to fall for him.
Tee Rifle becomes even more desperate to find a cure for his sexual condition, leading to bodies in his wake and forced separation from Christ as the latest medication causes Tee Rifle to shake uncontrollably when aroused (and boy does she arouse him!) The various cure sequences have their ups and downs between which ones are actually funny and which ones go on far too long. Each one shows the lengths Tee Rifle is willing to go to get back to a normal sexual function. Tee Rifle isn’t searching for massive erections or huge manhood, he just wants to work properly again. While Tee Rifle’s life has spun out of control because of his job, Christ representing a chance of normalcy. The tracks are parallel, but Tee Rifle is deeply embedded in his killer life, and makes no serious attempts to leave it behind. Killing is a natural part of him, even if he regrets what he has become.
His quest for sexual normalcy results in Tee Rifle being unable to be around Christ, or do his killing job properly (because Christ is following the assassin and shows up where he is targeting, causing seizures.) Tee Rifle’s attempts to juggle everything sews the seeds for his downfall, as he’s mistakenly caught on camera, enough that Christ can identify his car and interrupts him while on a hit.
The costuming deserves praise, having to come up with over a dozen believable but still occasionally humorous disguises for Tee Rifle, all with radically different hair styles, is a challenge in itself. While there may be some sort of rhyme or reason to Tee Rifle’s choices of clothing for any random day, I did not see a correlation. Tee Rifle does keep the more deadly-looking outfits for when he’s on the case. Christ also looks fantabulous, and someone really likes girls in aviators. And I’m not complaining.
Saturday Killer is anti-politician in general, in the wake of the 2008-2010 political unrest. Christ complains that the politicians are worse that killers, because if you don’t join one of the groups everyone hates you, and everyone hates you if you join the wrong group. Even after Tee Rifle is stuck in jail, Christ eliminates the last remaining political party leadership herself, ending the bloodshed between the political parties by killing them all. Christ was compelled to take out the ones who ordered her father’s death. Things may improve as things get all jumbled up, or new parties might spring up and repeat the cycle of bloodshed.
Rated 8/10 (wang doc, wang doc, wang doc, non-working cure, just a tiny side effect, disguise, interviewer, killer)
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