Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Thai films gain Momentum

A bunch of Thai films are set to go to DVD in the UK, thanks to a new company called Momentum Asia. Articles about the new company can be found at Hollywood Reporter and DVD Times.

The films are:
  • Buppha Rahtree - This is the release I'm most excited about. Finally, it look like there will be a DVD with English subtitles on the market. Momentum will call it Scent of the Night Flower. DVD Times says: "One of the top grossing Thai films of 2003, Scent of the Night Flower is an insane horror comedy that combines the hilarity of Scary Movie with the shock factor of the likes of The Exorcist and Audition. Having already suffered abuse at the hands of her stepfather, a young student, Buppha Rahtree, is driven to suicide when she is left alone, pregnant and miserable by a rich playboy who only seduced her to win a bet. Returning from the dead as a horribly disfigured ghost, Buppha sets out to exact terrible revenge on all those who mistreated her in life. Featuring hard-hitting social commentary, transvestite hairdressers, crazy psychics and graphic gore, Scent of the Night Flower is quite unlike anything you may have seen before.
  • Born To Fight - I missed this when it was in Thai theaters in August, because I was back in the US, and when I returned it was gone. Nor was there any evidence that it had actually played. It's a mystery. I'd still like to see it. DVD Times has more: "The latest film from Panna Rittikrai, the co-writer and fight choreographer of the acclaimed Ong Bak, Born To Fight is a breathtaking remake of the director's own 1982 B movie Kerd Ma Loy. The story concerns a group of Thai athletes on an aid mission to a remote village who get caught up in a violent tribal feud between the locals and an evil tyrant intent on terrorising the villagers. A highly anticipated film, thanks to its connections to Ong Bak, Born to Fight is already becoming one of the most talked about Asian action features of the year, not least for the inclusion of a show stopping, no wires, CGI-free sequence involving a truck that has to be seen to be believed."
  • The Bodyguard - Another Ong-Bak spin-off, this was directed by and starred the comic sidekick from Ong-Bak, Petchtai Wongkamlau or Mom Jok Mok. The previews, with lots of wire-fu and Mom running around naked, were enough for me. Here's more from the DVD Times: "The Bodyguard is a fast paced action comedy packed from start to finish with bone-crunching fight sequences and stylised gunplay reminiscent of the best of John Woo's early work. Wongkamlau himself stars as the eponymous bodyguard who is fired from his post when his boss is assassinated. But when his former boss' son also becomes a target for the killers, he finds himself back in a job and on the trail of the mysterious assassins. A must see for fans of the work of Jackie Chan and John Woo, The Bodyguard features an unmissable cameo by Wongkamlau's Ong Bak co-star, Phanom Yeerum (aka Tony Jaa)."
  • The Tesseract - "Directed by Oxide Pang Chun, the acclaimed director of the horror sensation The Eye, The Tesseract is based on the bestselling novel by Alex Garland (The Beach; 28 Days Later). Starring Johnathan Rhys-Myers and Saskia Reeves, this is a stylish, edgy thriller about four individuals whose destinies collide with violent and tragic consequences."
In addition to these and several other "New Wave" Asian titles, Momentum Asia is picking up the UK release and distribution of 30 titles from the Shaw Brothers Collection. These will include Death Duel, The Heroic Ones and Heroes Two. Many of these beautifully restored, widescreen presentations of Shaw Bros films, by the way, are already on Region 3 DVD from Celestial. These in turn have been picked up for the Thai market by United, and I've been buying as many of those as I could afford and have the time to watch.

(Thanks Sebu! Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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