Thai tattoo movies are a unique subgenre of Thai films, though off the top of my head I can only give a few examples.
Of course there's Killer Tattoo, but that isn't really what I'm thinking about here.
It's about the Thai spiritual tattoos that are said to convey supernatural powers that protect the wearers from bullets and blades.
You'll see the tattoos around, worn by policemen, soldiers, motorcycle-taxi drivers and other hard-working men in Thailand.
The ink is very much in evidence in historical battle epics like Bang Rajan 2.
The recently released Buddhist thriller Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga) made a cheeky reference to the "power" of the tattoos and showed one of the main characters receiving one from a monk.
The tattoos are applied with an ink-dipped needle that's attached to a long stick.
Supernatural tattoos were a focal point of the 2008 action movie Hanuman: The White Monkey Warrior, in which the characters assumed the powers of the mythical gods they had tattooed on their backs.
Another 2008 tattoo-action movie was Haa Taew, literally "five columns", which refers to the five lines in a tablet of Buddhist scripture that is usually tattooed on the shoulder.
Lots of young actresses and models are getting these haa taew tattoos on their delicate little shoulder blades. Other women get little scrolls on the small of their back.
They're following the example of Angelina Jolie who came to Thailand some years back and got one from Ajarn Noo Gunpai, the recognized master of the yantra tattoo. There's lots of videos dedicated to Noo Gunpai.
It was Noo Kanpai who produced Haa Taew and now he's made another movie -- an action-packed biopic about his own life.
According to the legend of Noo Gunpai, the master first started to study about magic spells and yantra tattooing at the age of six. When it was discovered the tattoos conveyed magical powers, everyone wanted one, even as Noo Gunpai tried to remain modest and avoid infamy. The full title is, check this out, Noo Gunpai Seuk Maha Yan Ying Kan Sanan Jor (หนู กันภัย ศึกมหายันต์ ยิงกันสนั่นจอ), something about fighting furiously and loudly.
Khet Thantap, Bin Bunluerit, Suebsak Pansueb and Supakorn Kitsuwan star with a special appearance by Noo Gunpai himself. Keep your eyes peeled on the trailer (embedded below) for a familiar pair of policemen -- probably the last appearance by the two of them together. Arinthawit Chomsri directs. It's released by Oom Maharuay Film and opens today.
(Via Enjoy Thai Movies)