Sunday, October 17, 2010

A little foreign action

I've watched two movies this week I've been waiting to see for a while.  One was a sequel of the fast-paced and entertaining "Distract B13," a French action flick featuring a lot of parkour and free running, as well as some very well choreographed fight scenes.  The sequel was B13: Ultimatum, and brought back the pair from the first film--cop and criminal--for some more of the same.  Two fighters against corrupt politicians--apparently thought of as much of a problem there as it is here in the U.S.

Simply put, I loved the film as much as the original.  Having never been to France, I can't say how much reality they've mixed with their fiction, but I imagine it's probably about the same as a U.S. action flick.  If you watch American action movies, or tv crime dramas, you probably get the idea that crazy shit happens every five minutes ago and most of us are lucky to be alive.

Nonetheless, I recommend the movie highly.  At least as good as anything made here, and as fun a buddy movie as I can remember seeing in a long time. 

The second movie is a Thai martial arts flick, starring Jeeja Yanin, the star of the excellent "Chocolate."  Though she seems so far to change her billing with each movie--so far.  In this one she was billed asYanin Vismitananda.

I really wanted to like this movie.  I loved Chocolate.  But there were entirely too many glaring holes in this one.  The premise, that girls were being kidnapped off the streets of Thailand, isn't all that far-fetched.  Sex slavery is a great problem in southeast Asia, and it happens probably more than anyone would like to admit.  But that's not the case in this movie, though they do mention it.  Instead, they're being stolen away for their pheromones, marked by a sniffer as possessing a particular body chemistry that can be as addictive as a drug.  Fine.  It's got a weird SF angle and I can live with that.

But the martial art created for the movie is, in a word, ridiculous.  In Chocolate Yanin was able to show off her considerable Muay Thai skills to great effect, but this film's premise in this regard is just plain stupid.  It's basically what you'd get if you crossed Drunken Monkey (as popularized by several Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks) with break dancing.  Drinking makes you fight better.

Ugh.  There are so many things wrong with this I won't bother getting into them.  But what's even worse is that it seems like half the villains--mostly introduced in the last half an hour or so of the movie--have some knowledge of and/or skill in this allegedly secret martial art.  The people who've been training arduously to free these captured women are soundly beaten by the villains because these unique fighting abilities are, in a word, useless.

I won't recommend not watching it, but only because I think Yanin has the potential to be a worldwide martial arts star.  Her skills are that good.  But I really hope she doesn't hitch her wagon to something as bad as this again.

She's not a bad actress.  Maybe she should learn French and go act in some french action flicks... It's an idea.

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