The Vanquisher starts out confusing and just gets more and more incoherent until you give up and go back to that one thing…what’s it called…reading! So just read this instead of watching The Vanquisher. Director (and writer) Manop Udomdej has graced TarsTarkas.NET before with his film Lizard Woman, and a few of the stars from that one make their way into this film. Sadly, the gecko women are not going to pop up and bit random characters. The Thai title Suay … Samurai translates to “Beautiful Samurai”. Because when you think “Samurai”, you think of hot Thai women.
HELP! The slow-motion rain burns!
The Vanquisher‘s troubles began before the film was even edited, when an actress in the film named “Amy” Chotiros Suriwong wore a dress at the 2007 Thailand National Film Awards that was so revealing that the entire nation of Thailand went insane. People couldn’t stop talking about how they were shocked, shocked that women had breasts. The government was overthrown 17 times, riots filled the streets, and Tony Jaa became a monk. So executive producer Somsak Techaratanaprasert chopped her out of the film, despite the fact this film is based on the premise that you will be staring at the breasts of the actresses in it.
It was obvious that this film was made with foreign distribution in mind. The film is mixed with English, Japanese, and a smattering of Thai. Why they bothered, I am not certain, as the English is so awful I can’t believe it was actually written and spoken by anyone who has heard English before. The sentence structure was beyond awkward, and even what I could pick up on seemed to be random statements. I needed the subtitles just to understand what was being said, unfortunately that was no help as the subtitles were autotranslated from either Thai or Chinese and were nothing more than broken sentence fragments. At least until halfway through the flick, when they just gave up entirely on having subtitles. As I have said before at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles. So I made up a story about how all those chicks were lesbians and it suddenly got far more interesting. You would think the white actors who are obvious native English speakers would at least be understandable, but you would be wrong. They must have had no input on the script as to writing sentences that people would actually say, or they don’t care and were just looking for a payday. Payday may be an awesome candy bar, but it made an awful time understanding the film.
I’ll take Psycho Women for $800, Alex
Genja (Sophita Sribanchean aka Sophita Sriban) – Genja is a cop who helps the CIA and gets almost killed for it. Then it is time for revenge! This is Sophita Sribanchean’s first film.
Sirin (“Nui” Kessarin Ektawatkul) – The Thai spy agency/CIA’s lead fighter, as well as non-insane female Nui Kessarin is a former national champion in tae kwon do and was in Born to Fight and Dangerous Flowers
Clare (Jacqueline Apithananont aka Jacqui A. Thananon) – Clare is the crazy as heck CIA lady who is in charge of the Vanquisher project, and is charged will killing all them ladies. She missed one, thus the film has sort of a plot. Jacqueline Apithananont was also in Queens of Langkasuka and The Bodyguard 2.
Mazaru (Pete Thongchua) – Mazaru is some sort of bad guy who is in charge of some ninjas, and is permanently having a scowl on his face. Pete Thongchua was in Lizard Woman.
Hana (Saito Kano) – A Yakuza chick who somehow is wandering around and has a sword. Saito Kana was also in Lizard Woman, as one of the women who take a shower and are then geckoed the frak up.
That’s sexual harassment. And I don’t have to take it!
Lizard Woman is from Thailand, and in Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia there are geckos everywhere. Geckos permeate the culture, they are like lizard cockroaches and poop all over. The big city is supposed to be above having geckos around, which is indicative of the countryside and the less modern people who live there. Yes, class struggles in Thailand, how interesting. Regardless, gecko women is a common horror meme, there are probably a lot of ancient tales about them related to the snake-women phenomenon that is all over Asia. I know of one other Gecko horror movie (called Gecko, believe it or not! And I have it on vcd…) and have seen enough covers of Thai films to know there are probably others.
Kwanpilin (Rungrawee Barijindakul) – A writer who has recently gained fame due to her horror novels, particularly one centered on evil lizard spirits. The same types of spirits who will now possess her! The actress is credited as Rungraree Barijindakul thanks to the multiple ways to translate Thai into English.
Vitool (Pete Thongchua) – Psychiatrist boyfriend of Kwanpilin who spends most of the film not believing his girlfriend is possessed. You can’t spell Vitool without “tool”. He is particularly lame, and I took great joy in his death.
Reporter (Chatthapong Pantanaunkul) – Photographer who catches glimpses of the geckos in his photographs, prompting him to investigate further. He is a totally extra character, so of course he dies.
Brother of the Maid (???) – Brother (I am guessing, he might be the boyfriend but they didn’t seem that close) of Kwanpilin’s maid Aunt Sai, he joins Reporter in the search for the truth of the gecko women upon his sisters death. He has a big heart, and if you don’t believe me Kwanpilin has ripped it out for all to see!
Gecko People (various) – A good chunk of the film is a side story about people who go caving and then get lost in the woods, and get all geckoed the frak up. I didn’t pay much attention at first because it looks like Kwanpilin was writing this as a story within a story, but it kept going. Gecko people are like a weird version of the J-Horror ghost girls.