Monday, February 27, 2006

Review: Warlord (Khun Suk)

  • Directed by by Sakka Jarujinda
  • Starring Sombat Metanee, Nayana Cheewanan
  • Screened at the 2006 Bangkok International Film Festival as part of a Tribute to Sombat Metanee
  • Rating: 3/5

The more I learn about old Thai films of the 1970s, the more I realize that contemporary director Thanit Jitnukul has been doing nothing more than making remakes. He did it with Bang Rajan, which was first made in 1966 and netted a best actor National Film Award for Sombat Metanee. He's planning another remakewith Red Eagle, which was a series of films that Mitr Chaibancha starred in. And Thanit did it with Khun Suk, or Sema: Warrior of Ayutthaya.

Actually, there was another film that Thanit did called Warlord, but it was a different movie, also called Kun Pan, about a black-magic warrior from Thai history. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a remake, too.

The story of Khun Suk goes back to Ayutthaya-era Siam, as the country is being attacked by those pesky Burmese.

Sema (Sombat) is a humble blacksmith who also is talented in the two-handed sword technique. In a sparring match, he defeats the palace's top sergeant, Sgt Khan (Nat Puwanai, who played a helpful prison doctor in Hell of Tarutao), thus setting up a rivalry that lasts for most of the film.

The chastened Khan deploys his sister, a wealthy landlady, to collect an uncollectable debt from Sema's parents. Sema's sister ends up as a palace slave as part of the deal.

Sema is locked up, but being the handsome feller he is, he attracts the attentions of the major-general's aristocratic daughter, who ends up in trouble for aiding Sema.

On the run, Sema joins up with a rag-tag volunteer squad and proves his bravery fighting the Burmese.

Eventually, all the rivalries are resolved, with everyone agreeing that they shouldn't fight each other for the good of the country, and they all sing a patriotic tune.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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