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Posts Tagged ‘Prachya Pinkaew’

The Protector 2 (Tom Yum Goong 2)

Monday, March 31st, 2014

tn_tyg2bHow can the same shit happen to the same elephant twice?

The first thing that jumped out at me in TOM YUM GOONG 2 was the amount of digital effects. Part of what made us fall in love with Tony Jaa’s movies ONG BAK and TOM YUM GOONG a decade or so ago was that they were refreshingly organic. All real stunts, very few visual effects, for the most part not even using wires. So it’s jarring to suddenly see him dodging obvious digital cars and motorcycles, ducking a digital subway, running from a digital explosion. Of course all movies are fake, but that’s more of a low budget version of a DIE HARD type of action than a Thai style, where we’re used to seeing real guys get knocked off of real trucks and get back up for real.

By the way, who’s the sorry motherfucker who found it necessary to introduce green screens to the Thai film industry? There’s this whole great sequence of Jaa fighting motorcycles on a rooftop, and I’m sure most of the stunts are real, but because the background is clearly fake you start questioning the whole thing. They even use green screens for his closeups when he’s holding onto the top of a car. I guess we’re past the days when Thai stuntmen were the crazy motherfuckers who would do anything. They must’ve finally gotten a union. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Kick

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

tn_thekickTHE KICK is a family friendly Thai martial arts movie from director Prachya Pinkaew (ONG BAK, TOM YUM GOONG, CHOCOLATE). It’s not as ridiculous as POWER KIDS (arguably that’s a bad thing) but way less cheesy and broad than MUAY THAI GIANT (definitely a good thing). It’s less gory than POWER KIDS but otherwise schews a little older, with a teen brother and sister getting alot of the focus.

Despite being a Thai production it’s about a Korean family who train and perform Tae Kwon Do. The father has alot of resentment about a loss at the Olympics long ago, just as he had to abandon his dream in order to raise a family. Because of this he puts alot of pressure on his family to train hard, especially his older son, who would rather pursue his dream of STEP UP style dancing. Dad doesn’t even want him to go to a big audition to be a dancer for “Dream Entertainment.” The poor kid has to make a deal to master the impossible “Tornado Kick” to even be allowed to pursue dancing at all. (read the rest of this shit…)

Why I’m taking credit for TOM YUM GOONG 2

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

vernpredictsThere’s alot of action movie news going around (I guess Jet Li’s not gonna be in EXPENDABLES 2, and they’re trying to get Donnie Yen?) but to me the big one is TOM YUM GOONG 2 (aka THE PROTECTOR 2). We already knew that Tony Jaa had returned from the monastery to do this sequel. We maybe were so fixated on his return to civilization that we didn’t properly acknowledge what good news it is that Jaa has patched things up with director Prachya Pinkaew (ONG-BAK, TOM YUM GOONG, CHOCOLATE, ELEPHANT WHITE) after their falling out over ONG-BAK 2: THE WEIRDENING.

Now comes word that TYG 2 will co-star Jija Yanin, that badass little asskicker who starred in CHOCOLATE and RAGING PHOENIX. (thanks to rewrite in the comments for tipping me off.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Elephant White

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

tn_elephantwhiteDid you know that Prachya Pinkaew, the director of ONG BAK and CHOCOLATE, was making an English language movie starring Djimon Hounsou and Kevin Bacon? I didn’t either until a screener wound up in my hands. It’s yet another weird, internationally produced DTV action movie from Millennium Films. (This is an early heads-up review – it comes out May 17th on DVD.)

Hounsou plays Curtie Church, a mercenary hired to take out some sex traffickers in Bangkok to avenge the death of a guy (who played a similar character in THE MARINE 2)’s daughter. Turns out Church being manipulated to start a war between two gangs, so he gets caught in the middle. A young girl from the brothel follows him to his bell tower hideout. To protect his mission he gags her and ties her to a pole, only to eventually (you better sit down and swallow all liquids first, this will surprise you) soften up and start trying to help her out.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Chocolate

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

This heart-rending melodrama from Thailand tells the courageous story of Zen (newcomer Yanin Vismistananda), an autistic girl who finds out her mother has been suffering from cancer but hasn’t done anything about it because she can’t afford proper medical treatment. With the help of an orphaned street urchin, and despite her many mental obstacles (she is easily distracted by small round objects, she can barely speak, she is afraid of flies), Zen goes around the city struggling to collect enough money to save her dying mother.

Harrowing, huh? But you know come to think of it I should’ve mentioned that this is from the director of ONG BAK, so the way she collects money is by picking fights with gangsters, battling 15 or 25 guys at a time, doing flips, hopping over and under various furniture and pipes, hitting people with her feet, hands, knees, elbows or head, swordfighting, throwing people off buildings, etc. See, her mom used to be a gangster and all these assholes owe her money, and Zen wants to collect. And it just so happens that one of the things she is fascinated with is the movie ONG BAK. She has focused much of her mental energy on observing muay thai in that movie and in the kickboxing school she lives next to, and has somewhat superhuman hearing and reflexes. It’s just a lucky combination I guess. So look out. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Protector

Friday, September 8th, 2006

real title: TOM-YUM-GOONG
should be the title: WHERE ARE MY ELEPHANTS?

Well, I can’t say I didn’t know what I was stepping into. The import DVD of the newest Tony Jaa movie (from the same director as ONG-BAK) has been circling around forever and a day now but I never got around to seeing it. Now those gangsters Bob and Noodles Weinstein have unleashed their bastardized and cut-up version across the screens of America. I knew it was probaly gonna be dubbed, I knew it was shortened (that’s what the Weinsteins do: buy other people’s movies, then cut parts out of them), and I knew it was re-scored.

And it was actually that last part that reeled me in like a sucker fish. Because in the newspaper ads it says in giant letters, almost as big as the title: “MUSIC BY RZA.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Ong-Bak

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

(aka MUAY THAI WARRIOR)

You see, there’s this small town in Thailand somewhere (possibly called Ong-Bak, unless that is only the name of the buddha statue there, but the subtitles led me to believe it was the name of both). Anyway, there’s a young man there named Ting (played by Tony Jaa) who is working hard to prove himself as a master of Muay Thai Kickboxing, or Thai Fist. That’s quite enough bullshit for a young man to have on his mind but then some other asshole has to sneak in and cut off the head of their buddha statue so he can sell it. All the old ladies start crying that the town is not protected anymore so before you know it this little old country boy is headed for big bad Bangkok to get the shit back. (read the rest of this shit…)