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  Bangkok Knockout Fighting ChanceBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Panna Rittikrai
Stars: Gitabak Agohjit, Speedy Arnold, Supakson Chaimongkol, Sorapong Chatree, Virat Kemgrad, Chatchapol Kulsiriwoottichai, Sarawoot Kumsorn, Krittiya Lardphanna, Pimchanok Leuwisetpaiboon, Sumret Muengput, Deka Partum, Panna Rittikrai, Puchong Sarthorn
Genre: Thriller, Martial Arts
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A martial arts competition is being held where fifty groups of contestants will be required to battle against each other for the ultimate prize of a contract in Hollywood. Now there are only two groups left and both are eager to emerge the victors, but all may not be as it seems as for a start the organiser, one Mr Snead (Speedy Arnold) is an obnoxious sort who puffs on a cigar and treats people badly - do the members of the Fight Club really want to be part of this man's world? But they don't concern themselves with this when there's a contest to be won, and one of their best combatants, Pod (Chatchapol Kulsiriwoottichai) springs into action...

Naturally, it's the Fight Club who wins seeing as how the other lot came across as a bunch of meanie cheaters, but that's nothing compared to what they're about to face. This was yet another of those Thai martial arts movies from fight choreographer Panna Rittikrai, here taking the director's chair as well, he being the man who had discovered Tony Jaa and made his country's action thrillers something for international audiences to be energised by. This time around it appeared his magic touch might not have been enough, as there were grumblings about the standard of acting and the storyline which was judged lacking.

Then again, if you were watching a martial arts movie for those things you might not be in the correct frame of mind to enjoy this type of thing because when the admittedly delayed fisticuffs arrived they were obviously the work of professionals. Just not professional actors for the most part, as Rittikrai had handpicked the members of his band of good guys as very promising talents in the field of beating people up (or pretending to beat people up at any rate) rather than future Academy Award winners in thespianism. Not to worry, as they could say their lines and get across the point of the storyline which wasn't the most complicated of narratives in the first place.

The set up here was yet another dig at reality television as it turned out the Fight Club were being recruited not for a trip to Hollywood but a very specific type of programme, one which would only be watched by less than ten viewers. Those viewers were a gambling syndicate - what have they gotten into? After waking up on the morning following a big party to celebrate their win, our heroes find they have been drugged by the bar staff they hired; at first they think it's because they drunkenly insulted them, but there is more to it, and that is the gambling which sees them challenged to escape from a derelict area out of the way of the rest of the population. The snag is their opponents have no qualms about killing them.

All while the gamblers look on from a hidden room making vast amounts of money guessing who will survive each round of violence. There were a few plots jostling for attention here, one which concerned the mascot of the group Joy (Supakson Chaimongkol) getting kidnapped and having to be rescued, and another which saw their mentor leading others away from the palaver but finding himself regularly foiled by circumstances. Mostly this was about the fighting, and once you saw the goodies crash into the baddies in mid-air over a substantial drop you knew they were not messing around when it came to the physicality, whatever the mechanics of the plotting asked you accept. With a structure not unlike that of a computer game, as was the trend in such efforts into the new millennium, you could be assured of seeing at least a couple of performers laying into each other at any one time, and probably more as Rittikrai made sure to intercut each scene of combat with another to increase the tension. Music by Terdsak Janpan.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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