Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate (Prachya Pinkaew, 2008)

Fans of wild-ass kung-fu movies owe it to themselves to check out Pinkaew's film Chocolate. It is a Thai film with subtitles (even for the bits in English), but furthers my belief that Thai filmmakers, particularly the stunt-people, are making some of the most balls out (or ovaries out) action movies around.

The story revolves around a young autistic girl, Zen, who is the daughter of gangsters from warring factions (rather Romeo and Juliette style) who is able to learn fighting skills by watching others. It starts with the Thai kick-boxers practicing near her home, and then moves to her learning from films and video games (I am pretty sure they made quite a lot of her watching Don "The Dragon" Wilson, but could not swear to that). When her mother needs treatment for cancer, Zen and her cousin Moom go about collecting debts she was owed when in the mob.

There is a lot of video game logic to this film. There is a story, but it is neither too heavy, nor too complicated. It creates a canvas to paint the fighting on. Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda who plays Zen does a fair job of playing the mentally-ill powerhouse, but it is the fighting that really earns her points. There is a lot of wackiness in characters and fight locations, and a ton of interesting gymnastics to go with it. The bad guy, Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) is evil incarnate, and when he punishes Zen's mother for her transgressions he explains how she will now, never forget, what he said to her. I'll assume he is right.

Well worth your time. Streams on Netflix.


evildm said...

Saw it. Loved it. Thank you!

Darius Whiteplume said...

"Losing a toe will change your life."

Glad you liked it :-)

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