For most of this week I had to take a break from blog writing to attend to some family commitments. I am still working on my blog about the plot structure and characterisation in Hong Kong martial arts movie Fist of Legend. Today I have reposted an old ‘mini’ review of a Thai martial arts film that was made in 2008 (or thereabouts). I saw this film during the Melbourne International Film Festival as part of a large and appreciative audience. I watch most of my movies at home alone on DVD. It was great to see this film on the big screen and to be a part of an audience who really got what the film makers were trying to do, and who brought respect and enthusiasm for the film to the viewing experience.
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew, this film was really good fun and quite well made. It is an honest to god martial arts movie with the structure of the film revolving around a beginning section (in which we are introduced to our characters and the plot gets set up), and then features 3 big fight scenes before being resolved in a final showdown between our heroine and her supporters and the baddies. I liked the way that the 3 fight scenes in the mid part of the film were each set in a different type of factory – I thought that a nice visual theme was set up here. The final, climactic fight is a good looking set piece which takes place in a restaurant and then on the walls and balconies of buildings overlooking a small laneway in a busy Thai city. In this last fight scene I enjoyed the way the choreographer creatively responded to the architecture of the setting to give the movement sequences structure and originality.
What is it about martial arts films? Only in a martial arts film can you get away with a plot premise which is so politically incorrect – an autistic girl has a genius savant gift for learning physical technique and because of this learns martial arts from watching Bruce Lee films and thai boxing. She becomes a debt collector to help her ailing mother (as you do). At the end of this film she even gets to fight another physically disabled youth in a showdown that had the audience cheering.