Posts tagged "Thailand"

The Kick

The Kick

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.

Moon (Cho Jae-hyun) – Father of the clan who is dealing with his own family issues and expectations while trying to raise his own children and instill similar values on them. Cho Jae-hyun headlines many Kim Ki-duk films. He’s also somewhere in Love So Divine
Yoon (Yea Ji-won) – Mom of the family who uses her skills for cooking. Most of her fights are comedic in nature.
Tae Yang (Taejoo) – Older son of the family and aspiring dancer. His dad is not too fond of his dancing dreams, even though Tae Yang incorporates the martial arts in his dancing. Often runs into trouble for some reason, he just must have awful luck. Taejoo sometimes is credited as Na Tae-joo.
Tae Mi (K Kim) – The lone daughter who plays soccer with the tae kwon do skills she learned from her father. Usually runs across her brother getting into random trouble. K Kim is also known as Kim Kyung-suk, she is a World Tae kwon do champion
Wawa (Jeeja Yanin) – Niece of zoo owner and friend of the family Mum, and the girl Tae Yang tries to impress. Has mad skills. See more Jija in Chocolate, Raging Phoenix, and Jakkalan.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 10, 2012 at 2:06 am

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Janram (Review)


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!

Janram (Jintana Aromyen) – Just your average lesbian vampire schoolgirl who slowly eats all her lovers to death, yet doesn’t seem to realize that she’s killing all of them and gets depressed when they keep dying. But that doesn’t stop her from hooking up again and again with a constant parade of young lasses. The upper class Janram lives with her creepy grandma who is always silently craddling a doll and her mother. Actress Jintana Aromyen is also in Gonggoi: The Beast and 2004’s Ghost Dormitory
Ming (Maethinee Suwanjinda) – Janram’s lover who dies near the beginning of the film. Like you expect from a vampire flick, she returns very hungry and very upset that Janram has moved on to a new girl. It’s going to be a chick fight tonight!
Sassy (???) – As I couldn’t figure out her name, I just called her Sassy because she’s very sassy to everyone. Sassy has always hated Ming for reasons unknown, and she has no qualms on moving in on Ming’s territory once she dies. But then Ming comes back, but Janram now likes Sassy more… I think this is actress Bussakum Apithanarak but I am not sure.
I must stay away from the audio adaptations of Warhammer novels…but Gotrek and Felix can’t be resisted!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm

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Cool Gel Attacks (Review)

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.

Teerachai (Jaturong “Mokjok” Phonboon) – Runs a steamed bun restaurant and feuds with his neighbor Maew. Father of Moo-Dang and Moo-sub. Has a special ingredient in his meat that is his secret, so don’t tell anyone it’s borax!
Maew (Jim Chuanchuen) – Runs an ice company next door to the steamed bun restaurant, the heat from which melts his ice prematurely. Is angry about that. Uncle of Sommhai and father of Shorty.
Sommhai (Nattapong “Freud” Chartpong) – Nephew of Maew who works at his plant, also in love with Moo-Dang, but Teerachai hates him.
Moo-Dang (Pattarasaya “Peak” Kruasuwansiri) – Daughter of Teerachai, who now works in his bun restaurant because she couldn’t find work after graduating. Carries on a secret love affair with Sommhai that’s always spoiled by her father. Moo-Dang means roasted pork. Daughter model who gained fame in the tv drama Ubat Ruk Kaam Kaub Fah (Love Beyond Frontier)
Cool Gel Aliens (CGI) – Alien space goo that fell to Earth and has come to remove all moisture and heat from their victims. Enter the bodies to best suck up the heat/moisture. The more they eat, the more they grow. Despite their gelatinous forms, these slugs reproduce sexually and lay dozens of eggs.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

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Jakkalan (Review)


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 (“Jeeja” Yanin Vismitananda) – Jakkalan is a tomboy bicycle messenger who beats up bullies and crushes on a rocker guy with a secret that was obvious even without subtitles. Despite being the title character and the entire focus of the marketing, she’s only in like half of the film and there are just three fights.
Uncle (Petthai “Mum Jokmok” Wongkumlao) – Jakkalan’s uncle, who raises her from a baby while struggling to also run his video store business. And is caught in the middle when all the gangster stuff happens. Mum Jokmok also directed the film, and is a Thai comedian, thus all the other comedians in the flick.
Suitor (Akhom Pridakun) – This man with the great teeth spends most of the film pursuing Jakkalan, who doesn’t have time to even look at him. Was saved from a bully by Jakkalan as a child, thus his crush.
Schoolgirl Fighter (Alisa Sonthirot) – It’s a schoolgirl because we need to make someone Jeeja fights slightly memorable! Slightly. The only info on Alisa Sonthirot is where I got her name from, WiseKwai’s site.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 1, 2011 at 1:48 am

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The Kick stunt trailer

The Kick (that Korean/Thai co-production we’ve devoted a few posts about) has a stunt trailer up, and it’s got some butt-kicking action. And Jija Yanin finally shows up in some of the media, which is good, and she’s kicking people, which is good. Some of the stunts are awesome, so I can’t wait for this one!

Click here for the stunt trailer

We’ll embed it when someone uploads it to YouTube. The plot again for those who missed it:

Moon is a Taekwondo master running an old Taekwondo gym in Bangkok. All five members of his family are also the masters of Taekwondo in different styles: his wife Yoon in cooking style, son Taeju in dancing style, daughter Taemi in soccer style, and the youngest Typhoon can break anything with his strong forehead.

Moon wants his children to be Taekwondo coaches to take over his gym in future. However, regardless of their father’s will, Taeju wants to be a famous pop singer and Taemi is only interested in her secret crush at school.

One day, Taekwon family encounters treasure robbers on the street by accident and happens to get caught into fight with them. With surprising martial art skills, TK family knocks down the robbers and takes back the stolen treasures. The head of the robbers Pom, who is notorious for many crimes, escapes alone and trembles with rage.

TK family becomes famous in public. But, They do not know that Pom is planning to get his revenge.

The Kick

The film delivers!

via Twitch

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm

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Five-Star General – 五星上将

Five-Star General – 五星上将 – (Just a direct translation for now as I couldn’t find an “official” English title) is a China/Thailand coproduction that’s influenced by Charlie’s Angels, Tomb Raider, and the action in Avatar (I’m guessing from the helicopters and jungle scenes) that is also aiming for 3D action. What we do know of the plot seems to involve a group of female mercenaries or Amazon warriors. Doing something. In the jungle. That is adventurous. And there are some dudes around as well (Collin Chou Siu-Lung, Ryu Kohata, Shi Yanneng, and Andy On Chi-Kit.) Mavis Pan Shuang-Shuang is one of the females, and Renata Tan Li Na is somewhere in there as well.

The director is Fu Huayang of Kung Fu Hip-Hop fame. And now some pictures!
Five Star General Collin Chou
Five Star General
Five Star General - Ryu Kohata
Five Star General Shi Yanneng
Five Star General
Five Star General

Sina via HKMDBNews
Look for more news when they announce the first of what will probably be several Western names until they settle on one.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

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