Sunday, August 06, 2006

Review

Warrior King, dir. Prachya Pinkaew



Warrior King is a Taiwanese martial arts film about a guy who's elephant is stolen. In pursuit he embarks on what Quentin Tarantino might refer to as "a roaring rampage of revenge!"

From the same people who brought us Ong-Bak, star Tony Jaa and director Prachya Pinkaew, this is a worthy Western-crossover that deserves to make bucket loads of cash. If the idea does not immediately appeal, then you and I have less in common than I thought. As far as B movie baiting ideas go: snakes + plane = good, stolen elephant + martial arts = better!

Total Film claims, "Jaa’s feral feline charisma and his wild and wireless approach to stunt work have been sidelined by soppy CGI, Westernised baddies, needless chopper’s-eye view sweeps of Sydney and formulaic action-movie bluster". Wrong on several counts. I am a student of film and I didn’t spot a single piece of CGI, and as for the stunt work, there was nothing to hint at the fact that any of it was achieved using wires. As for the film being ‘Westernised’ – Asian cinema has been doing this for years (see many a Hong Kong film) – take a recognisable Hollywood genre and copy it, while still doing it their own way (other countries do it too – its how the French New Wave started!). Besides, criticising the plot of Warrior King is like… its missing the point.

This is a genre film, and a very well made one. I don’t know what Ong-Bak was like, I have yet to see it – an oversight I will rectify as soon as possible. But Warrior King is a B-movie, and it knows it. It has no pretensions to be anything other than great fun and it delivers too, offering all manner or high-kicking thrills!

This film is the antidote for anyone bored by Hollywood's overabundant use of CGI in recent summers - execs. take note, this is how you do action without the pixels. Tony Jaa is undoubtedly the genuine article – the fights are brilliantly visceral and bone-crunchingly painful. No Crouching Tiger/Hero styled dancing here - two yawn-fests defined by slow pacing which critics misunderstood/mistook for depth of story. No, these fights are of a different order, they display acrobatics and athleticism worthy of Jackie Chan, (who has a very brief cameo) alongside the quick-fire brutality of Bruce Lee.

There is a marvellous sense of playfulness and imagination on display, Pinkaew keeping things fresh through a seemingly endless variety, Jaa, demonstrating more ways to kick and punch a man than you would think possible. One outstanding moment involves Jaa running up a wide spiral staircase, thumping people as he goes, then upon reaching the top shouting, "Where’s my elephant?" A classic line if ever I heard one!

2 Comments:

Blogger Karic31 said...

Is this film out at the cinema?

6:20 PM

 
Blogger Eric said...

It certainly is. Check it out.

6:06 AM

 

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