Three recent Thai action films are now available on DVD with English subtitles.
The latest release is Brave, the Malaysian-Thai action-comedy-drama starring Mike B., Afdlin Shauki and Supaksorn Chaimongkol. It's the story of a young man drawn into a web of intrigue and made to steal information from a credit card company. This film had some cool action sequences by stuntman Mike, directed by Thanapon Maliwan, but I felt that a poorly dubbed soundtrack and other problems like shaky camera work and what I felt was sloppy editing detracted from it.
Next, is Fighting Beat. This is Mono Film's answer to the popularity of Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong, which other Thai studios are trying to harness. It's about a young fighter trying to avenge the death of this father and take back a bar/boxing club that was stolen from him and his friends by some foreigners. Again, this has its moments, but many problems with the story, the pacing and the acting make this one a tough film to watch.
I'm saving the best for last: Muay Thai Chaiya. This was one of my favorite films of 2007, and it has since gone on to critical acclaim in Thailand, with stars Akara Amartayakul and Sontaya Chitmanee winning best actor and best supporting actor accolades from the Subahanhongsa Awards and the Bangkok Critics Assembly. The story is about a trio of friends, two of whom are boxers. A woman comes between them, and as one plunges to the grim depths of the underworld around the Bangkok boxing scene, the other becomes a great fighter and ascends to the top.
Brave and Fighting Beat have been released with English subtitles in Thailand, which is unusual. I've been very busy lately with my new day job at the Daily Xpress, and haven't had time to get to the stores or rental shops to check on these discs, so I don't know about the level of censorship, if any, or general quality of the release. I will keep an eye out. eThai CD has Brave while Fighting Beat is available through Thai Film Journal affiliate, HK Flix.
Muay Thai Chaiya, meanwhile, has been released in Singapore. It played theatrically in Singapore and Malaysia around November of last year. It's available with English subtitles from Movie Xclusive.