Almost 30 minutes have elapsed in Panna Rittikrai’s Born to Fight when a small village is overrun by a renegade army. Men, women and children beg for their lives, while a sadistic colonel orders his men to execute selected victims.
Police officer Deau (Dan Chupong) is visiting the village with his sister who is part of a group of athletes working for charitable concerns. Deau’s friend and colleague was killed months earlier during an attempt to end the career of General Yang (Noppol Gomarachun); a drugs baron who was subsequently arrested.
Now, the General’s disciples are demanding his release and issue a chilling ultimatum: hostages will be killed online unless the President agrees to their demands. The small matter of a nuclear missile aimed at Bangkok presents Deau and his courageous companions with a life-or-death mission, where failure will result in the pre-meditated murder of millions.
Originally made as a 1982 B-movie called Kerd Ma Lui, this 2004 hit sees Panna Rittikra team up with producer Prachya Pinkaew for a lucrative remake. Those impressed by their collaberation on Ong-Bak will doubtless be thrilled with Born to Fight, which hits the ground running and rarely lets up.
The action sequences are good old-fashioned balls-to-the-wall stuff, using stuntmen to help realize some truly amazing scenes: check out a fight scene which takes place on two moving trucks, and then sit on the edge of your seat as Rittikrai drags us towards a battle royale that lasts for almost half the film’s running time.
Dyed-in-the-wool action buffs will love damn near every minute of this this, but the suspension of disbelief required may often prove a turn-off for relative newcomers to the genre – the Ronaldo-esque football antics being a case in point. Thankfully, there is some light and shade to be found; particularly during the hostage scenes where the emotional outpourings of the soon-to-be victims and their loved ones leave their mark.
Momentum Asia’s Region 2 DVD offers a fine transfer of this film, but extras are limited to a featurette, cast and crew interviews and trailers. I’m sure some of the viewers would have welcomed a Bey Logan commentary track but, for the experienced addicts, this film probably speaks for itself.