Wednesday, 5 May 2010
BANGKOK ADRENALINE (2009)
Directed by: Raimund Huber
Screenplay: Raimund Huber, Conan Stevens, Gregory T. Eismin
Starring: Daniel O’Neill, Priya Suandokemai, Gwion Jacob Miles, Conan Stevens & Raimund Huber
Cheesy martial arts a go-go in this good looking but often amateur feeling Thai actioner that, despite the wobbly thespian skills of its main actors, is actually quite a fun action ride. Luckily, Bangkok Adrenaline is packed with inventive, acrobatic fights and stunts as four backpacking douche bags attempt to pay the money back they lost gambling to a local crime boss by kidnapping the daughter of another dodgy crime lord and holding her for ransom. Yeah, brilliant plan! Non-surprisingly things don’t go well, leading to a whole lot of free running, fisticuffs and an alarming amount of “comedy” hi-jinks.
Ok, to be fair Bangkok Adrenaline isn’t half as bad as it reputation might suggest. The action is copious, breathlessly staged and to be honest the comedy hi-jinks are actually quite funny. The paper thin plot serves nothing more than to base several extended fight scenes around and for the four male leads to strut and mug across the screen. The trouble is none of them are very likable characters. Well, main star Daniel O’Neill is pretty decent, the only character who seems to have any morals. The rest are bunch of loud mouth, as stated, douche bags who you really wouldn’t mind seeing getting their heads kicked in. The “acting” leaves a lot to be desired for but I let all the other reviews/critics/bloggers wax lyrical about how awful it is. Bangkok Adrenaline is simply an excuse to showcase the impressive fighting skills of Daniel O’Neill and a host of flipping, spinning stuntmen, kicking the snot out of one another in sun soaked Bangkok. And on those terms, Bangkok Adrenaline works just fine.
It does take a while for the action to kick in, again too much time spent on comedy mugging but once it does, the action and fights are gloriously inventive, intricate and sustained. While not as brutal as say a lot of Thai action cinema (Ong Bak, Born to Fight) the sheer acrobatics and momentum of the fight scenes make them a joy to watch. They may be a little rough around the edges but these guys know how to fight and choreograph. Star Daniel O’Neill, who has been plying the action trade for some time now in stunt and bit parts, is a martial arts whiz and gets the bulk of the fighting to himself. The number of snazzy moves, takedowns and kicks he knows is unbelievable and all put to good use in a series of show stopping fights and chases. His fight in a cramped alley and the one-on-one fight with another high kicking bad guy atop a stack of pallets are dazzling displays of fighting skill. O’Neill along with co-star Miles and one time Jackie Chan opponent, Ron Smoorenburg (Who Am I?) and a host of others action coordinators put their knowledge of action staging to good use and push themselves to create some wicked fight scenes on what must have been a very small budget.
Not much else to say other than if you are in the mood for some easy going, bubblegum action cinema, then Bangkok Adrenaline is a breezy 80 minutes of fight action. It’s also pretty funny despite the dodgy acting, the lead girl is very, very pretty (and acts everyone else off the screen), and there is an awesome fight on one of those groovy little Thai taxi's