Thai action is back at the New York Asian Film Festival, with pint-sized warriors dishing up big servings of elbow blows and flying double knee drops in Power Kids and Raging Phoenix.
In a press release, Grady Hendrix and the Subway Cinema crew describe Power Kids thusly:
Do you like to see children thrown face-first through plate glass windows? We do! Johnny Nguyen (The Rebel) plays a terrorist who takes over a hospital. The only people who can stop him? A team of tykes with killer Muay Thai skills. Like a Hong Kong movie from 1988, it's totally reckless, the action is breathless and child labor laws are completely ignored.
Presented as part of the Midnights @ IFC line-up, Power Kids (5 หัวใจฮีโร่, Haa Huajai Heroes), is directed by Krissanapong Rachata with action supervision by Panna Rittikrai. It features young fighters Nantawooti Boonrapsap and "Kat" Sasisa Jindamanee along with young comedian Paytaai Wongkumlao (son of Mum Jokmok) and Narawan Techaratanaprasert.
On to Raging Phoenix:
Jeeja Yanin, Thailand's only female action star, burst onto the scene with Chocolate and now she's back in this flick where she learns how to combine Muay Thai beatdowns with sick B-boy moves. Truly jaw-dropping, it's full of high impact kicks, lethal breakdancing and the discovery that the greatest martial art of all is "Drunken Muay Thai." Come drunk!
It's the New York premiere for Jeeja/Jija's sophomore action effort. Raging Phoenix (จีจ้า ดื้อสวยดุ, Jija Deu Suay Du) earlier premiered alongside Power Kids at the inaugural ActionFest.
Other highlights at NYAFF include the Star Asia Awards, which will be given out to Chinese actor Huang Bo, whose latest Crazy Racer will be shown; Sim Yam with Echoes of the Rainbow, Storm Warriors and Bodyguards & Assassins; and a lifetime achievement award for Sammo Hung, with two of his classics, Kung Fu Chefs and possibly the greatest Vietnam war movie ever made, Eastern Condors.
The opening film is IP MAN 2 featuring a great fight scene with Donnie Yen and Sammo, but both are SEVERELY BEATEN BY AN OBNOXIOUS YELLING BRITISH BOXER NAMED TWISTER. Simon Yam reprises his role from the first Ip Man, which is also showing. You'll get why I'm shouting when you see the movie.
The fest runs from June 25 to July 8 at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, July 1 to 4 at the Japan Society and midnights on June 25-26 and July 2-3 at the IFC Center.