Sunday, 6 February 2011

Born to Fight (2004) - Panna Rittikrai

Me and my friend Neil Queen have started this thing of suggesting one film a month to each other, it has to be a film that each thinks the other should have seen, but hasn't. We kicked off as we meant to go on by starting with two titles each. Be bold we thought, after all life isn't worth living if you don't live on the edge is it? My two for him were The Red Shoes & Le Trou, for me he chose Enter the Void and this. After watching this I'm starting to feel like maybe I got the short straw.

To say this film is daft would be an understatement. But we'll get back to that in a mo, first let's have a run through just what this hour and a half is about. Well let's see, Born to Fight is a Thai film which kicks off with a massive action scene as two undercover cops try to bring down a drug lord called General Yang. All they really manage to do though is hurt loads of stuntmen and destroy a rather unconvincing shanty town. If you've seen Police Story, or even to a lesser extent Bad Boys 2 then you've seen this set piece filmed better. It's one of those action films that owes a huge debt to the over the top madness of Reagan era action fluff, mixed with a huge dollop of Jackie Chan. This opening scene for example, our two cops are chasing two huge lorries through some deserted wasteland, now for some reason one of the cops (Daew) decides that it would be best for him to clamber over the top of one of these speeding trucks. Don't ask me why, since like so much in this film there is no logic, other than the chance to film a few bone breaking stunts. So there he is on top of the trailer when all of a sudden there are loads of Thai baddies shooting at him. Where did they come from, and how did they know he was up there? As I said logic and this film weren't really getting along too well during filming. I shudder to think just how many injuries were caused during the shooting of this scene.

Anyway back to our story, Daew manages to arrest Yang but not before Yang blows up Daew's partner. Oh do keep up. So Daew is more than a little miffed about said partner dying, so what does he do? Turn to alcohol, bit of Clancy Eccles and some doobage, throw himself into his work? No of course not, he goes off to some poor village in the middle of nowhere, with his sister and some athletes to distribute soft toys and blankets to the needy. Well you do don't you? But hang on what happens next? Well it turns out that by pure coincidence General Yang's men have decided to take the very same village hostage, demanding their evil genius's release by the following morning or there'll be hell to pay. As far as storylines go it is pretty fucking bad. Think Die Hard in a crappy village set, with smaller action and loads of old women running around screaming. To be honest it's not even as good as that. Oh yeah and there is a nuke aimed at Bangkok, for the life of me I can't remember why, and for most of the film it is forgotten about. It's only when you think the film is about to wrap itself up and you can go and make a cup of tea and maybe rescue the day by watching something decent, that the nuke turns up again. Will it get launched? Of course it won't, except after a mad bit of kicking and punching (this film's one saving grace are some of the fight scenes) it does get launched. Don't worry though for some unexplained reason it goes through Bangkok and then explodes out at sea. So that's alright then.

As I said some of the fight scenes were good, and who could ever not want to see a one legged man giving it some to a bad guy? There were a few moments that had me laughing enough to worry my cats, an old man running worse than Roger Moore straight towards the camera, some chap spending the last third of the film running through action scene after action scene in slow motion with a Thai flag. Little girl beating up nasty man, that never fails does it? What else? Well there are loads and loads of plot holes, but to be honest it's not the sort of film where you should be too worried about things like that. The same goes for the direction and look of the film, I don't know maybe I take this stuff too seriously but I always wonder why the camera moves when it does. For instance why start with the camera on the ground and then rapidly have it crane up to the heavens only to cut away to a shot at eye level, back to the crane shot on it's way down now, then a close up of someones face then, well you get the picture. It's a mess, it wants to be Michael Bay but ends up being a cheapo version of McG. Oh God I hated this film, it was alright for a while, but I tire of things quickly if they fail to grab my attention. Whenever I've seen something I always ask myself if I would watch it again, or if I saw it on DVD for a ching (that's a fiver to you and me) would I buy it? See if you can guess what my answers to those questions are for this film. Enter the Void had better be good.

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