Reviews of the new Thai martial arts extravaganza Chocolate are continuing to trickle in, and while the views on the handling of the script and story are mixed, the consensus is that the script and story don't really matter, because it's the action that will make people want to watch it.
First up is Brian, on Asian Cinema - while on the Road. He took a break from digging for pictures of the Edison Chen sex photos scandal to watch Chocolate and write a review.
Hallelujah. Girls with Guns are back with a big fat old fashioned no hold back kickfest that will bring on orgasmic hot flashes for those of us who worshipped the likes of Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Cynthia Khan, Michiko Nishiwaki and Kara Hui in the 1990’s. Tough, resilient women who could make a roomful of men cry for their mother. Those days are gone in Hong Kong, but at least for some 90 delirious minutes it is back in Thailand.
I think he liked it. Additionally, Brian says the story is "decent if not complicated ... that has at least a bit of characterization and sentiment."
However, writing from the European Film Market, Twitch's Todd Brown disagrees, saying "the plot is wafer thin, character development virtually non-existent." He also laments a lack of "significant featured fighters for Zen to square off against", repetitive action, and some technical snafus, such as obvious film-speed manipulation and "pucker" marks on clothes where the wire rigs are attached.
But it's the action, and the charismatic new star, Yanin "Jeeja" Wismitanant, that commands his attention.
[Wismitanant] herself is astounding ... and once the action begins it is absolutely unrelenting. The final fight scene alone – a one versus thirty or so affair that scales the outer ledges and neon signs of a multi story building and sent at least one stunt man to hospital – is absolutely jaw dropping, an instant classic in the martial arts world and one which is, all on its own, more than worth the price of admission.
But Jeeja isn't the only one. Brown also has his eyes on a female martial artist named Semra Turan, who stars in a Danish kung fu film, Fighter, which he says has been overshadowed by Chocolate.
Meanwhile, readers at Twitch are weighing in on possible new titles for Chocolate for when it is released by The Weinstein Company on their Dragon Dynasty DVD label. Past examples include Tom Yum Goong being renamed The Protector (and being cut by 30 minutes and rescored by The RZA). The intense Donnie Yen-Sammo Hung police drama SPL: Sha Po Lang received the mind-numbingly generic title of Kill Zone, even if it was given the deluxe treatment by Dragon Dynasty. The latest is Feng Xiaogang's Hamlet adaptation The Banquet being ridiculously retitled Curse of the Black Scorpion.
Here's a couple more suggested new titles for Chocolate:
- Legend of the Thai Yakuza Princess.
- Sista Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.