Tuesday, 17 January 2012

BKO: Bangkok Knockout


Directed by: Panna Rittikrai
Screenplay: Panna Rittikrai, Dojit Hongthong, Jonathon Siminoe
Starring: Gitabal Agohjit, Speedy Arnold, Supakson Chaimongkol, Sorapong Chatree, Virat Kemgrad and loads and loads of stuntmen

Boasting one of the simplest concepts in action cinema, Bangkok Knockout is crazy combat and stunt filled madness Thai style. Orchestrated by Ong Bak and Born to Fight action guru, Panna Rittikrai, Bangkok Knockout ain’t much of a film but more a collection of wickedly choreographed fight and stunt sequences that sees a stunt team (a collection of real life stunt and fight wizards) who think they’ve won a trip to Hollywood to appear in some big movie but who in fact awaken in a deserted industrial estate and must fight for their lives while rich douche bags watch them on CCTV cameras and bet who is gonna make it to the end. Pretty straightforward and a good enough reason to hang a series on impressively staged action scenes on.

The main problem with this is the acting in the non-action scenes is, well, just horrendous. Not to put to finer a point on it but the set up (a good half hour into the run time before all the action kicks off), the attempts at “drama” and some of the acting (I’m looking at you weird Eastern European accented guy) are just terrible. I have no problem with an action film having a basic plot to hang lots and lots of action on (in fact, I damn well encourage it) but at least let what little acting and plot there is be somewhat bearable. Anyways, there are plenty of others who will have endless fun tearing into the lack of plot and awful acting, so lets just focus on the action: and a great heap ton of it there is as well.

As is synonymous with Rittikrai and Thai action cinema everything is pretty much done for real. These stunt guys and girls are put through their paces in series of action scenes that escalate and escalate in their intensity and dangerousness. From some awesomely staged and sustained fights scenes (the wicked cage fight, the one-on-one fight with metal poles) to some very dangerous looking sequences involving cars, motorbikes and a fight that takes place under a truck (as daft as it sounds but it certainly looks dangerous and credit to the stunt guys for performing it) the action is pretty incredible stuff.

Bangkok Knockout doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t and if you can forgive the bad acting then the film delivers on the action front. It isn’t quite Ong Bak, Chocolate or Raging Phoenix but it is some entertaining Thai action madness.

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