aka 더 킥 aka วอนโดนเตะ!!
Story by Prachya Pinkaew
Screenplay by Lee Jong-suk Lee
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew
Thai and Korean co-production The Kick shot on people’s radar for two reasons: Director Prachya Pinkaew, and Jija Yanin having a supporting role in the film. That’s all that was reported, and for the longest time it was hard to tell what kind of role Jija even had in the flick. Well, time has passed, and now The Kick is available on DVD and we can see Jija has a substantial supporting role in the last 2/3rds of the flick and participates in several fight scenes. There is also plenty of other action from the Korean actors, but the film does drag at points due to pacing and humor issues. It is far from Prachya Pinkaew’s best work. It’s almost another Jakkalan, though it does give us an interesting Korean/Thai hybrid film, something I don’t think there are too many examples of.
Though I thought I wouldn’t care about the Korean family, they began to grow on me (except for the young kid!) and even though they spend a good amount of time yelling at each other, they also come together to deal with bigger threats. Each family member has a different martial arts move skill, and the fights jump from solo to various pairings to group fighting. Unfortunately due to the amount of characters we rotate through the scenes quickly when all hell is breaking loose. The fight scenes in the last 20 minutes are great, but they also make the prior 90 minutes look terrible. I wish it had been more consistent on the choreography. In fact, I’d probably suggest just skipping until the end for most casual fans and people who don’t like putting up with nonsense.
Prachya Pinkaew has become a household name in martial arts film fan circles, with Ong-Bak, Tom-Yum-Goong, and Chocolate under his belt, and several upcoming films that look to be awesome as well. Several of the stars are members of the Korean Tigers tae kwon do group.
aka Blind Moon aka จันทร์แรม
Written by Varapon H. Phadungratna
Directed by Kirati Nak-Intanond
There’s a storm coming…a BLOOD STORM!!!
Janram is a Thai film from Niepce House, which is related to Natnalin Magazine, an art magazine from Thailan named after its founder, Natnalin Noimai, a photographer. The magazine has a heavy art bent, and the related features and enterprises on the website also trend towards the art direction. It did well enough that they started up a moving picture divsion to try to cash in on the Asian Horror craze that was sweeping the world in the early 2000s. From what I can tell, they produced only two films: Janram and Secret Room No.7, both released in 2004. Janram is heavily weighted to show visuals, visuals that have the appearance of the way fine art photographs would look in an arty black and white photoshoot. This is all well and good, but moving film is a different medium than still photography, so the correlation seems odd at times. It gives Janram a more high class feel, which strikes a stark contrast with what is actually happening in the story, with lesbian vampire schoolgirls.
Janram is based on a serialized story called Janram by Poomkamol Phadungratna that was incomplete at the time of filming. As Niepce House is a company set up by artists, the few films it made were more “artistic” than anything else. But they were also horror films, mostly so they could sell them overseas. This film is packed to the gizzards with weird stylized stuff – it has a washed out appearance most of the time, allowing for when there is blood for it to be bright bright bright red and contrast sharply with the rest of the film. Beyond that, there are random odd zooms and the camera is constantly moving like the cameraman was wearing rollerblades or something. As usual, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!
The line for the midnight premiere of Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 started before Part 1 hit the theaters!
The best part of this film was the two trailers before the film. One was of a haunted bra film – yes, haunted bra film. You see, if you put on this haunted bra, a ghost would appear and your bra would glow all yellow and you would be possessed by a ghost. Apparently women trade bras often, so dozens of women wear the haunted bra, which hunts down the people who killed and raped it’s original owner. Oddly enough, the English name for this film is Haunted Bra.
There was also a Naked Weapon knockoff film complete with crappy version of the Sharon Stone Basic Instinct leg crossing scene. The budget was about $4, but it’s probably at least as good as the real Naked Weapon. As far as I can tell, this doesn’t have an English name, but goes by นางฟ้า ต้องประหาร. If it ever gets back in print I’ll snatch up a copy for thrill of it all. Thanks to ThaiWorldView for helping me figure out the title!
Vampires also double as photo-negative safe lights for darkrooms!
I must stay away from the audio adaptations of Warhammer novels…but Gotrek and Felix can’t be resisted!
Cool Gel Attacks
aka Kradeub aka กระดึ้
Directed by Jaturong “Mokjok” Phonboo
Alien goo monsters from space crashed into the Earth and start sucking the moisture/warmth from people. It’s up to two rival families to put aside their differences and save the planet. Cool Gel Attacks is a cool, refreshing burst of fun scifi monsterism in a world where fun romps are sorely lacking.
The cool gel monsters look like cool gel packs that you wear when you have fevers to cool down your body temperature. This method isn’t that common in the US, but at least according to this film, is the bee’s knees in Thailand. Ask anyone there, and they’ll tell you that they’re gellin’ like a felon. They eat melon because they’re gellin’. Magellan wishes he was as gellin’.
The beginning is a montagy showcase of a bicyclist who finds a mysterious gel thing on the road, which becomes a national phenomenon until scientists figure out it is just the insides of one of those cool gel packs. But by then, people are touching it for good luck and trying to determine lottery numbers.
You might think this is all fun and games, but it is 100% true! One woman even cooked up one of the gel packs and fed it to her kids to make them more intelligent. No word on what horrible brain damage eating the gel packs did to those poor kids. And now we know how the Thailand ET film will end! Just kidding, I have a Thailand ETish film that will get reviewed soon, and no one eats the alien. UFO interest has spiked up since the national headlines, and Thailand is becoming a minihotspot for alien activity. Aliens will even call you on the phone or communicate with you telepathically, as the many totally true alien stories from that link tell us.
Director Jaturong “Mokjok” Phonboon is a comedian who directs films on the side, and gets a bunch of his comedian buddies to star alongside him. Thsu, many of the goofy, silly Thai films you see when you go search on eThaicd have his fingerprints on them.
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.
The Infernal Brains Podcast has returned to once again infernal your brains. All over dem brains. In this episode, Tars and Todd discuss the worst of the worst that they have encountered in their years and years of chronicling world cinema. Leave behind your Uwe Bolls, your Birdemics, your Plan 9s…These choices are truly the worst from around the globe. Both Tars and Todd each pick a particular film to highlight, discuss, and moan about. What films are they? You gotta listen to find out! Or just look at the tags for clues. But listen anyway, or you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
As usual, we got a crapload of choices for you: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link so you can just download right to your iPod and listen to dudes rambling about awful monster costumes while being bored at work.
Watch in slideshow form:
Links discussed include:
Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng