Monday, December 27, 2010

Delayed Reviews: (Thai) Vengeance

See- everyone does this shit!  In 2008, Thailand was still in its big cinematic boom.  Sure, they still make them now, but it's not the same.  In that year, they made a film called Vengeance.  Yeah, that's the name.  It's so...lazy.  Is this all they could come up with?  The plot involves cops, robbers and a magical forest full of monsters.  Yes, giant monsters in a Thai film that's not Garuda.  I'm surprised too.  Why is this one a Delayed Review though?  Well, to be honest, it came out on a day with SIX new releases, three of which I saw.  One of them happened to be Brian Loves You, a film that begged to mocked.  This was when I didn't have a schedule and pretty much reviewed whatever I thought of at the time.  This led to the movie being bumped back to, well, now.  Was it worth revisiting?  Get out your book on slow-mo knife-throwing for my review of...
The film begins in the jungle.  Get used to that location, people!  Two men and a kid are running away, presumably to find the point of all this.  Oh yeah, they also have a magical amulet with them too.  One of them gets left behind and the kid screams, bringing us to the credits.  A lot of time has gone by apparently and some robbers are on the run.  These aren't your nice, Trapped in Paradise-style robbers either.  A group of cops are after them, leading to a tense stand-off and some shooting.  So far it's all pretty generic.  You could at least throw in an elephant like Mercury Man did!  Eventually, the thieves flee into the jungle, although they are warned that it is haunted.  The police follow, but take up a priest's offer to stay the night before their trip.
All of this is a pretense to get some character back-story, but I really don't feel like telling it to you.  Right when things start to be settling down, the robbers show up at the temple, take the necklace from the priest (is he the man grown up?) and flee.  Oh yeah, they kill the priest too.  This leads to a jungle chase and lots of meandering.  Our heroes meet up with some women in the jungle, but they aren't too friendly.  They do a quick turn, however, when they find out why the people are here.  Both groups get caught by the villains, however, despite their being no reason to surrender.  More of you had guns than they did, but whatever!  The tense showdown is broken up by...a CG lizard attack.  No, really.  A few of them are taken out by the adorable killers, but they ultimately rally.  One silly scene involves one of the jungle girls taking out two leaping lizards in slow-motion with knife tosses.  During this, our hero is awkwardly-staring at the camera.  After the group flees, they stumble across a giant, CG snake.  Ruh roh.
After some more violence and running, our heroes end up further in the woods.  They actually manage to kill the snake by luring it out into the open and cutting it's head off with a knife- in one swing!  I have a few questions about how that worked!  The people make it to a nearby village for safety, but you know that won't last.  As it turns out, the woods are haunted and so are the people there.  They turn into freaky monsters that actually get less interesting when they turn into CG.  The zombie-like versions- keep them!  All of this has led up to giant monsters fighting in the dark- hurray.  In the aftermath, our hero tries to use the amulet to go back in time (it's power, apparently) and stop all of these events from happening.  He's told that it won't work, but he does it anyway.  He kills the guy in the flashback part and returns to the village to find...the other person was right.  Everyone else is still dead.  The End.
This movie kind of sucks.  The plot has promise, but can't seem to decide what movie it wants to be.  The crime element is interesting, as is the 'monsters in a jungle' plot.  Unfortunately, the two simply do not mesh together in any coherent manner.  The criminals have no connection to the woods, nor do the cops.  If you're going to do a plot like this, have a reason!  The action scenes are pretty good and the CG work is decent.  None of it's terrible or anything, but it still has that 'CG look' to it.  I can't place why, but it doesn't quite feel real to me.  That's just more fuel for the 'use practical effects over CG' argument, I guess.  One odd thing is that the movie has none of the martial arts or stunts that you would expect from a Thai film.  No, I'm not a racist that thinks that every person in Thailand knows Muay Thai or some crap like that.  It's just that those are 99% of the market they put out!  Other Thai films like Dynamite Warrior mix fantasy and martial arts, but this one doesn't.  Like the teaser said, this is basically the Thai equivalent of a Syfy Channel Original Movie.  If you're into that, check this out.
Next up, an Instant Viewing movie that proved to be interesting at the time, but never got reviewed.  Ninjas, an evil corporation and, as a bonus, Pat Morita show up here.  Stay tuned...

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