Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dynamite Warrior / Khon fai bin (Chalerm Wongpim, 2006, Thailand)

I love Thai boxing. It's all knees and elbows. DYNAMITE WARRIOR adds one more factor to the knees and elbows; fireworks.

Starring Dan Chupong as folk hero Jone Bang Fai, the film is set during the dawn of industrialization in Thailand. There's a great need for buffalo to kick the agrarian economy into gear for trading with foreigners. At the same time, Lord Wang (Leo Putt) hopes to make a mint on selling tractors to farmers. If only those darn buffalo weren't in the way... To that end, the maniacal Wang hires an army of thugs to rustle buffaloes and up the demand for tractors.

The rustlers cross paths with Jone Bang Fai when they both happen upon Singh (Samart Payakarun), a part-time wizard and full-time buffalo herder who happens to bear a tattoo just like the man who killed Fai's parents! Singh is one tough dude. Not only can he whip someone's ass from a few yards away, but he also has two bodyguards that take on the awesome fighting abilities of a tiger and monkey when the need arises.

According to the Black Wizard, a friend of Lord Wang, the only way that Singh can be defeated is via the menstrual blood of a virgin born under a astrological sign greater than is. Oh, is that all? Well, luckily, the Black Wizard happens to have just the girl handy -- his dangerously cute daughter, Sao (Kanyapak Suworakood).

From there, DYNAMITE WARRIOR continues to twist and turn with glee, always giving Jone Bang Fai opportunities to shoot off rockets and/or kick a lot of butt. There aren't too many lulls in the story, which is good. The fewer chances for Dan Chupong to emote, the better. He reminds me of a Thai version of Keanu Reeves.

Recently released by Magnolia Pictures with either dubbed (ugh) or subtitled (yay!) versions on the same DVD, DYNAMITE WARRIOR is cheesy good fun.

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