Posts tagged "Chartchai Ngamsan"

Tears of the Black Tiger (Review)

Tears of the Black Tiger

aka Fah talai jone aka ฟ้าทะลายโจร

Written and directed by Wisit Sasanatieng

Tears of the Black Tiger was one of those films that you’d hear about for years, buzz would be awesome, but it was impossible to find a copy. Between the Weinsteins sitting on their version (which they then drastically cut) and other international versions also being edited, the only real way to see it was via imported Thai DVD. But Tears of the Black Tiger is well worth the effort to track down, and thanks to the internet being much more developed than in 2000, it is also easier to locate copies to buy of the uncut version.

Wisit Sasanatieng wanted to do an homage to the films he loved, the 1950s and 1960s Thai films. As we learned from our travels through the Insee Daeng films (Awasan Insee Daeng, Jao Insee, Insee Thong, Insee Payong, Insee Daeng 2010), older Thai films have a color saturation that make them look unique. TotBT is both a tribute to the local flavor drama stories, and the action films featuring bandits. Set in post-World War 2 rural Thailand and featuring the bandit gangs that were a reality at the time (as also detailed in the Awasan Insee Daeng review), Tears of the Black Tiger has the look of an old west film, but it is unlike any western seen before. The vivid colors, painted backgrounds, and homages to stage productions make every frame a work of art. The editing is just the right mix of quick cuts versus longer scenes that it feels a part of the film.

TotBT is just so different from what else is out there, it is a perfect example of why people fall in love with cinema. While I think my recent foray into the Insee Daeng films helped give me more appreciation of older Thai films, I would have liked Tears of the Black Tiger no matter when I saw it. I’m only sorry I didn’t watch it sooner. TotBT excels with neat cinematography and sets, from the painted backgrounds and color coded rooms with pastels everywhere, to the random poetry and songs to play us through scenes. Thought he pace can seem to drag at times, even that isn’t much of a problem and it is similar to slower paced Thai films from the era it is emulating.

Dum (Chartchai Ngamsan) – Dum is a crack shot and never misses. He’s called Black Tiger (Dum means black, and the gang is the Tigers), hence the English title of the film. Lover of Rumpoey despite their different cultural backgrounds. Chartchai Ngamsan also appears in The Brutal River.
Rumpoey Rajasena (Stella Malucchi) – Rumpoey’s dad is the provincial governor, and she’s engaged to Captain Kumjorn despite loving Dum since childhood. Her life is a series of tragedies. Stella Malucchi is Italian-Columbian, but was raised in Thailand. She was deathly ill for months and lost a leg, but has recovered well.
Fai (Sombat Metanee) – The big gang boss, leader of the Tigers gang. doesn’t take any crap from swarms of police officers that try to kill him and his gang. But he also avenges the death of his friends. Sombat Metanee has been in Thai film since 1960, was frequently cast with Mitr Chaibancha, and became a top leading man after Chaibancha’s death. He eventually became known for villain roles, and has even been elected to office.
Mahesuan (Supakorn Kitsuwon) – Fai’s former right hand man and main rival to Dum, the new right hand man. Raises his eyebrow more than Mr. Spock! Supakorn Kitsuwon teamed with Chartchai Ngamsan before in Sasanatieng’s Dang Bireley’s and Young Gangsters (1997). He is also in 2008’s Rambo.
Captain Kumjorn (Arawat Ruangvuth) – Bland police captain dedicated to wiping out bandits, and also getting engaged to women who don’t love him. And he’s a jerk!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , ,

The Brutal River (Review)

The Brutal River

aka Khoht phetchakhaat

Chartchai Ngamsan as Jamnong Phimaan
Jirapat Wongpaisarn as Pikul Phimaan
Worapod Cha’am as Narinthorn
Lukana Lisani as Karaked
Directed by Anat Yuangngern

Hey, America is not the only country that can produce SciFi Channel films where a giant CGI animal kills people; Thailand can create them as well! Even though it probably has no chance of ever appearing on the SciFi Channel, Brutal River is in spirit similar to the many dozens of films that premiere to the world on that network. Sure, the opening scrawl claims it’s based on a true story, but CGI carnage is the same in every language. A few problems, the pacing is way off, and the movie has habits of dragging, making it seem like it’s much longer than it is, while SciFi Channel flicks usually try to show the monster every 10-15 minutes or so for fresh kills. Oddly enough, other parts of the movie are pulled off quite well, as the film jumps back into quality B-movie territory. Thai film has received a boost recently due to the works of Tony Jaa becoming popular, the quality film Beautiful Boxer, and works of director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Thai horror has also started to creep around into the public conscious thanks to the general Asian horror leakage. Thus, Brutal River is born! The best selling point of The Brutal River is one of the neat poster one-sheets, which is included with the rest of the screencaps here. I don’t want to say that Brutal River is a terrible film, but it’s just infected with its plot slowdowns ruining the pacing of the film worse than a rogue crocodile would ruin the local canal of a Thai village. That makes it a terrible film, even if you can get enjoyment from it.

Though I’ve watched several Thai films (okay, 2 Thai films), I am still a novice in identifying the actors and local nuances that define Thai cinema and culture. Chartchai Ngamsan (who plays Nong) seems to be the local heartthrob to bring out the ladies. He’s probably best known over here for the cultish Tears of the Black Tiger. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux (or Jirapat Wongpaisarn as she went by in this film) playing Pikulwould be one of our hot women, as well as Lukana Lisani (playing Ked) as the other hot girl. Following traditional Asian fame, many of these people probably have singing careers in addition to their acting careers. It would be nice to know any of that, but English information on any of them is scanty, and Google translations are far more miss than hit. We’ll just make up some facts to fill out the rest of the paragraph. Chartchai Ngamsan owns a riverboat casino and spends most of his non-acting time singing lounge acts onboard. He is the best Robert Goulet impersonator in Asia. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux spends most of her spare time spelling her name in various different ways so she’ll never be credited under the same spelling twice. This compulsion is due to her being trapped alone in an empty closet as a child with only a Scrabble board game for company.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 27, 2006 at 12:18 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , ,