Monday, 6 April 2009

Chocolate Autistic Action!

From the makers of Ong-Bak and The Warrior King comes the latest action sensation from Thailand, Chocolate (2008).

Available on DVD for £7.

Zen (Jeeja Yanin) is an autistic child with a special ability to mimic various fighting styles and movements. She is the daughter of an ex-mafia mistress Zin (Ammara Siripong) who is fighting leukaemia. When Zen’s best friend and carer moom (Taphon Phopwandee) discover an old list of contacts that owe Zin money. They set out together to collect the money to help pay for Zin’s hospital treatment. Driven by the desire and love for her mother, Zen stops at nothing to get the money. This opens up her mothers past and brings along a host of trouble.

Director Praycha Pinkaew along with action star Tony Jaa have brought Thai film into the limelight over the last couple of years with the films Ong-Bak and The Warrior King. These two films showcased the deadly martial arts form Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing) with devastating affect. The films went about creating no holds barred action sequences without CGI, wire’s and stunt doubles. With the idea of creating believable, realistic action, that saw the actors picking up a fair few injuries. No pain no gain! Not to mention real world champion martial arts fighters as extras! This has created some seriously tense and exciting action leaving you gob smacked at the amount of beating a human body can withstand!

Chocolate minus Tony Jaa carries on this trend with a petite autistic heroine played by Jeeja Yanin. With her gymnastic skills you’ll see her bend, stretch and spin her way out of trouble as if gravity had no affect. The action set pieces hit the heights of The Warrior King, with one fight scene-taking place on narrow ledges of a building three stories high. You’ll watch as Zen smashes the bad guys through windows and down the side of the building to the floor, without wires and CGI! Some of these action set pieces mimic classic Hong Kong Jackie Chan films where he used to mix his environment with the fighting chorography, along with not having a stunt double and getting himself into a fair few scrapes and knocks.

Chocolate like most action films does suffer from a weak plot. But this saves it from over complicating itself and frees up the immense action sequences from ruining the pace and flow of the narrative.

Praycha Pinkaew has set about an action Revolution bringing Thai films to the international stage. Setting new standards for action and martial arts films. Bringing about realism and doing things the hard way like the olden days. So if you want real bone crunching action and fed up with the over blown CGI of Hollywood (and Hong Kong of late. But they are starting to wake up) Chocolate along with Ong-Bak and The Warrior King are worth checking out.

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