Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

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Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:14 pm

Ong-bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)

Directed by Prachya Pinkaew

Starring Tony Jaa

No wires. No computer graphics. No stunt doubles!

Nearly 2 hours of absolutely stunning martial arts action. The story is lame and more than a little cheesy, harking back to the Hong Kong films of the 70's but if you can leave your brain at home you will be entranced by the sheer acrobatic and fighting skills of Tony Jaa which are phenomenal, like a cross between Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The fight scenes are brutal yet at times poetically graceful.

If you're in need of an adrenalin rush of a movie and can put up with stereotypical characterisations, go and see Ong Bak.

Also see - Ong Bak - 2003 Full review by justindeimen

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rating 18

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby hengcs » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:51 pm

I have more to add ...


Dang Bireley and Young Gangsters (1997)
(directed by Nonzee Nimibutr)

Nang Nak (1999)
(directed by Nonzee Nimibutr)

Fear Faith Revenge 303 (199
(directed by Somching Srisupap)

My Girl (2004)
(directed by a lot of people)

Shutter (2004)
(directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom)

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:57 pm

Hi hengcs, nice to hear from you, could you please add comments for all the films mentioned in your post, the more the merrier.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:56 pm

Satree lek (2000) The Iron Ladies

Directed by Youngyooth Thongkonthun

Starring Jesdaporn Pholdee, Sahaphap Tor

Based on a real life story about a volleyball team of gays, transvestites, and transsexuals and a straight guy and their struggle to enter and eventually win the National Volleyball Championship in Thailand.

Acerbically funny and surprisingly touching, I wasnt looking forward to watching this (because it was based on a true story) but I can honestly say it was an enjoyable film and one that makes you question your own attitude and way of thinking. It is quite a shallow film in terms of character defining dealing mainly with the team as a whole and the tournament but luckily I wasnt expecting much in the way of depth.

The film is obviously very camp and I thought theyd played it up too much until the end when you see some of the actual people involved, they make the actors look normal!

You may think yeah typical underdogs make good but in this case it did happen and where else could it happen other than Thailand?

You dont need to answer that!

Recommended if your looking for a lightish campy comedy or sports film or both.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby hengcs » Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:17 pm

Shutter (2004) (Thailand)

Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom

Starring Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee

The official website (in Thai)

-- It was the the box office hit in Thailand in 2004
-- This movie was screened at the 4th Tribeca Film Festival
-- Not surprising, there is gonna be a remake of this movie by Hollywood.

(I usually do not like to write too much to avoid spoilers)
It is basically a horror film. After a hit-and-run accident, the girl and her partner keep having ghostly shadows in their photographs. The friends of the photographer also get implicated ... is it just a simple accident? is there more to it?

What is good?
-- There are a few scenes that are indeed scary ...
-- Belying the simple plot, the directors do try to create depth by questioning love, responsibilities, the past and the present, etc ...
-- The ending ...

What may be weak?
-- I watched from a DVD rather than a theater. I think the impact of scariness might be less. It might be scarier if you watched in a totally pitch dark cinema with screaming audience.
-- Also, I had set too high an expectation from friends who keep telling me it is very scary; hence, I was more prepared and less frightened. So, do not go with too high an expectation. You might like it better ...
-- After a while, you can predict the "main" plot
(nonetheless, some scenes are still unpredictable ...
e.g., the visit, and the ending)

-- As I am usually not a fan of horror movies, I guess a second opinion is needed.

I think it is a slightly above average film ... I really do not know ... maybe teenagers will really like it ... I guess I still like The Sixth Sense better ...

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:23 pm

Re: Shutter (2004)

I watched Shutter yesterday, it comes across as a mix of several other recent Asian horror films but with a couple of unique concepts.

I couldn't help being reminded of Ju-on (The Grudge) above all but with elements of Ringu and The Eye and Phone amongst others.

Originality wise, well it won't spoil the film by saying at times it's a real pain in the neck!

So I am in agreement with hengcs on this one, good production values but apart from the odd original concept there's nothing to make it stand out amongst the rising torrent of horror/ghost films that have poured out of Asia since the success of Ringu.

If you watch it on DVD, try and listen to the DTS audio selection, it is excellent and I can imagine people getting a little freaked out with the sounds coming from all around them.

If you're a horror fan there's more than enough enjoyment to be had from Shutter just don't expect it to change your world.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:25 pm

Phrpa (1999) The Cup

Directed by Khyentse Norbu

Starring Orgyen Tobgyal, Neten Chokling

This film is apparently based on real events.

The one thing many of the young trainee Buddhist monks love is football, during the World Cup several sneak out down to the local village to try and watch the matches, they are caught returning from one visit, punished and told if they try it again theyll be expelled. Orgyen who is probably the cheekiest takes it upon himself to seek permission from the Abbott to hire a telly for the night of the World Cup final.

Most of the cast are the real deal, Buddhist monks pretty much playing themselves, they are naturals and Im sure most of them probably enjoyed the unique experience of being involved in the film. Ritual and prayers play an important part and certainly add to the authenticity and atmosphere.

A simple but touching good natured film where conscience plays a pivotal role, political points are made concerning China and Tibet but these are kept to a minimum, its nice to know that even devout Buddhist monks are down to earth and enjoy some of the normality of life.

Recommended as a light film with a healthy dose of Buddhist tradition and philosophy. I forgot to mention the amazing traditional singing at the start and end of the film.

What I didn't like, tardy product placement for a major soft drink company.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG.

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby hengcs » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:23 am

Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Cast: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao

ok ... this is so called the "sequel" (having the same few actors, but NOT story) to ONG BAK!

The official website and synopsis

What is commendable ...
-- Needless to say, the real fighting sequences are good, i.e., no wires, not computer edited, etc ... though near the end, it gets kind of "violent/bloody" ... by the way, the fighting only commences AFTER the little/no action in the first 30 min ...
-- However, I actually like the beginning scenes and some later ones which depict the more rural and beautiful aspects of Thailand ...

-- If you like ...
... Sidney ... you may be happy to know that part of it is filmed there!
... elephants ... you will be delighted too ...
-- Overall, the MAIN message is nice ...
... about the love of animals
But there are a few "minor" messages ...
... about culture and respect
... about people and respect

What can be better ...
-- It has to be the plot, although the message is good ...
-- Near the end, the violence can be rather "violent/bloody" for kids ... but I guess teenagers who like martial arts films will like it ... hiaks hiaks ...

If you enjoy real martial arts ... go watch it ...

PS: You could tell it is a big budget film (300 mil baht), with the things that got exploded or damaged ... hee hee

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby hengcs » Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:11 pm

The Tin Mine (Maha'lai Muang Rae) (2005) (Thailand)

Director: Jira Maligool
Cast: Pijaya Vachajitpan, Donlaya Mudcha, Sonthaya Chitmanee, Jumpol Thongtan, Niran Sattar, and Anthony Howard Gould

It is Thailand's submission to Oscar 2006. In Thailand, it took six awards at the Supannahongsa Film Awards , incl. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, Best Art Design and Best Costume.

The official website

It is based on the widely read short stories of "The Tin Mine" (about 142 chapters, I think) (by Ajin Panjapan) which is semi-autobiographical. Also, at the end of the film, the author and one of his friends (i.e., Kai), now in their 70s, made a cameo ...

My thoughts ...
-- Very often, I would associate such "epic" (covering events over 4 years) and coming-of-age story to be more "serious" and "dramatic". However, the film took a comedy approach, with caricatures, stereotypes, exaggerated expressions, etc such that it came across as a "fun to watch" film rather than a serious film. Also, typical of films from Thailand, the initial scene was injected with a haunting and frightening "ghost" story, which may have pleased some audience but possibly (and maybe) displeased serious award voters.
-- Unfortunately, for many of us who read subtitles, the multicultural aspect of the film might have been lost in translation ...
-- Nonetheless, the film should be credited for its many good messages on humanity, integrity, determination, loss, respect, friendship, love, etc
-- In terms of cinematography, there are a few beautifully filmed scenes.

Above average. A simple but sincere narration of what happened to the author and his friends in the tin mine over a period of four years ...

Re: Asian arena - films from Thailand, Vietnam, etc

Postby trevor826 » Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:59 pm

Beautiful Boxer (2003 - Thailand)

Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham

Starring Asanee Suwan

He fights like a man so he can become a woman

Thats the tagline for the film and pretty well sums it up. A surprisingly mainstream orientated uplifting film giving a slightly romanticised view of the story of Nong Toom/Parinaya Charoemphol from childhood to post op sex change, this is based on a true story and has the blessing of the actual person.

I wont go into detail about the storyline as its pretty straight forward except to say that from a very young age Nong Toom wanted to be a female. The only way he could earn enough to take care of his family and have the operation was to take up a sport that he saw as nothing more than mindless violence, kick boxing.

His trainer can see his potential but it is the trainers wife who reveals the poetry and beauty of the sport to him. After winning a few fights, Nong Toom starts to wear make up in the ring, a hero to some, a cheap gimmick to others and offensive to many more including several of his opponents, he struggles on determined to be able to become the woman inside.

Well theres no need to add that he/she finally achieves their goal, helped by some, persecuted by others he becomes physically female (as far as that can be achieved).

The events shown in the film are obviously (for dramatic purposes) altered giving the film the same sort of feel as Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story it also broadens the appeal of the film but detracts from what must have been a real struggle mentally. The boxing is fine, certainly looks brutal enough though not on the same level as Ong Bak, there are quite a few fights shown but theyre tightly edited so as not to detract from the story.

So overall, if you enjoyed Dragon or other boxing/fighting films and the struggles of a person to find their true self then Beautiful Boxer comes highly recommended. Well-edited, very good camerawork and decent acting all go to make a pleasurable viewing experience.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 Pal dvd released by Tartan Video.

DVD extras include a making of doc and interviews with the director, star and Nong Toom/Parinaya Charoemphol.


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