Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Bangkok Adrenaline


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


Conan Stevens said...

Thanks for the good review, we had quite a few difficulties filming this and the end product ended up being quiet different from the original script where the comedy was supposed to be built up more, as it was in the Thai released version, but due to many factors, many you would not call 'professional' decisions things changed.

For a few mates getting together and making our first movie though it came out alright in the end and is getting the recognition we expected.

You should be seeing a bit more of Dan as he is quiet unbelievable, his skills are right up there with the worlds best.

And of course my own career is progressing, slowly, but getting there so you'll be seeing more of me too (Conan Stevens)

drive2 said...

Thanks for posting. Yeah I really did enjoy the flick, despite my few negative comments. I think people don't always appreciate what goes into making a film, especially a low budget action film and how certain aspects are always compromised. I always try to take this into account when reviewing (we "critics" have the easiest job after all: expressing our opinion of someone else's hard work) and I certainly enjoy films that are just meant to be fun.

As you mentioned, for a few mates getting together to make their own action film, Bangkok Adrenaline turned out well. Excellent and exciting action, a nice slick look and while the characters didn't always engage, the comedy made me laugh out loud a lot.

Good luck with everything (hoping to check out Power Kids and True Legend soon) and thanks again for getting in touch.

Karalas said...

I almost passed this movie up it just came out at my base rental store but I am really glad I ended up renting it. I get so many Martial Arts movies and I tend to be let down that they worry so much about story/acting that they forgot about the martial arts.

Though the script had more holes then Baby Swiss, the wanton disregard for continunity for a better martial arts flick actualy had me glued to the couch. I have to admit though I did like your character I jsut wish you would of had a shot of yourself driving the Mini. I get tears just thinking about it.

The Martial Arts was brilliant. I have not been this impressed with not only talent but the way it was presented since House of Flying Daggers (Tony Jaa is amazing but the presentation in the movies never does him justice) Dan has officialy become my go to martial arts man and I will happily plug him to any martial arts fan I can.

In short thank you for what turned out to be a very suprisingly breath of fresh air in a genre that has long been decaying.

p.s. Get Dan back to making some movies im hungry for more get yerself in there as well I want a conan dan fight :)

Anonymous said...

Simply stunning, well directed, gr8 martial arts, beautiful actress, very funny moments and so on. I mean it has everything that needs to be in a good movie. Gr8 work guys. Njoyed lot, thanks. ;)