Saturday, March 18, 2006

Review: Vengeance

  • Directed by Preaw Sirisuwan
  • Production Company: Mono Film
  • Starring Watchara Tangkaprasert, Jirapat Wongpaisarnluk, Chalat Na Songkla, Sorachai Sang-arkad, Nuttanund Chantarawetch, Nuttaree Wiboonlert
  • Released in Thai cinemas on March 9, 2006

Vengeance is a cool monster movie, but the problem is, it doesn't know what kind of monster movie it wants to be.

Featuring low-rent CGI that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, and a B-movie plot, Vengeance starts out mysteriously, at the edge of a forest, with two men and a boy, trying to get away. The older of the two, the father, pleads with the other man to take his son out of the jungle.

The other man does so, at the strident protests of the boy. They then go back into the forest to find the old man dead, but they are able to retrieve a strange medallion and a mystical knife before fleeing again from the woods.

Cut to present day - police storm an urban shophouse and have a shootout. They are then put on the trail of the bad guys - drug smugglers, murders, thieves, ne'er do wells, who are headed for the Burmese border and "that place" - the jungle where the movie opened up.

The old man of the police team appears to be handing over command to a young captain named Wut (Watchara Tangkaprasert). Both men, naturally, have some kind of connection to the strange jungle.

They arrive at a nearby village and have a confab with an elderly monk.

Turns out the monk was the man who pulled the boy, Nasoo, out of the jungle. Nasoo (Chalat na Songkla) grew up to be the leader of the bandits the cops are chasing. The monk was a former bandit whom the older cop once arrested, and Capt Wut grew up in the village under the monk's tutelage.

I don't understand it either, but there it is.

Finally, with the help of some Karen guides, the cops enter the jungle on the trail of the bad guys, and then the good stuff starts happening.

Tiger bees! They fly through a human body like a knife through butter.

Fruit tree maidens. They sing a mysterious song and bathe in the stream at night - naked! They beckon men to have sex with them, and then draw their very life from their victims through their members.

Ravenous geckoes. Thousands of them. These are some bad little CGI critters, but they are mean and take out a number of men.

A giant snake! I'm pretty sure it's the same design of snake that was used in Sars Wars, but it's a lot meaner.

With all the monstrous animals in the forest, the bad guys are finally taken under control by Wut and his men. And then a mysterious pair of hooded women - Sea-On (Jirapat Wongpaisarnluk) and her younger sister, Kamphaeng (Nuttaree Wiboonlert) - show up. They have little, pencil-stick firing crossbows and aren't afraid to use them. Everyone must drop their machine guns and automatic pistols.

The hilltribe guides, particularly the plucky young hilltribe girl, Kratae (Nuttanund Chantarawetch) does not trust these mysterious women. Where did they come from? What are they doing in this enchanted jungle? Why are they wearing hoods? How come they are showing off their midriff? How are they advancing the plot?

Of course, Sea-On is a love interest for the hero, Wut, and, after he rescues her from the giant CGI snake, they share a touching moment amidst many CGI fireflies, that actually aren't too bad. Some decent animation.

Then the group gets to Sea-On's village and the really weird stuff happens as the movie shifts into a different kind of monster movie altogether. And it's even better, even if it doesn't make any sense.

More information:
(Cross-published on Rotten Tomatoes)

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