Thursday, March 6, 2008

Review: Salad Ta Diaw Kab Dek 200 Ta

  • Directed by Thanit Jitnukul
  • Starring Saranyu Wongkrachang, Kessarin Ektawatkul, Narawan Techaratanaprasert
  • Released in Thailand cinemas on March 6, 2008
  • Rating: 2/5

You can’t take just any actor, throw a pirate costume on him, stick him on a sailing ship and expect him to be like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Yet that’s what director Thanit Jitnukul thought when he made the kid-friendly seafaring adventure Salad Ta Diaw Kab Dek 200 Ta. (There's no English title that I know of.)

Actor Saranyu Wongkrachang may have a three-corner hat and an eyepatch, but it takes more to be like Captain Jack Sparrow than a costume and a flask of whisky. Saranyu’s bland Captain Rick fails to elevate the action and laughable special effects involving giant crabs, a vicious car-sized tortoise and a boat-swallowing octopus.

Rick is easily upstaged by the nine brats his character impresses into his pirate crew. He's also outshone by his first mate Dow, played by the hard-kicking martial-arts actress Kessarin Ektawatkul (Born to Fight, Dangerous Flowers).

The real stars are the three boys and six girls. They were on a cruise ship with their parents, but are lost in a storm. They then join up with the dread pirate Rick, and help him battle a rival crew for a cache of treasure.

Among the nine children is Pat, played by Narawan "Grace" Techaratanaprasert, daughter of Sahamongkol exec Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techaratanaprasert. Pat is the older sister of another girl, Ultra (Rojanakorn Yhunha). There's also a pair of twin girls, Plub and Phraew, a half-Thai girl named Jennifer, another Thai girl, a boy with glasses, a fat kid named Oomsin and another boy, Joe.

Rick is nursing a broken heart over his former girlfriend, who has hitched up with the hilariously goateed rival pirate, Nipon (Nirut Sawsudchad). This leads to a few dust-ups aboard the sailing ship, and later at a beachside rave party where banjo music is being played.

The universe of the film is a strange one, with the anachronistic Rick and his wooden, multi-masted sailing vessel, versus Nipon and his luxurious fibreglass catamaran sailing yacht. The most interminably boring swordfight ever is committed to celluloid, while plucky little Pat uses a quad bike to take on the bad guys herself.

Turns out Rick is also the grandson of the "One-Eyed Pirate" of Andaman Sea legend, and has the map to a mysterious, enchanted treasure, which is guarded by giant sea creatures. The critters are possibly blue-screen, possibly CGI, maybe even animatronic or a combination of all three. Anyway, they don't look too good. Better to learn the lessons of this film -- stop searching for any treasure, let the monsters slip back into the sea and never return to disturb them again.

More information:
(Cross-published at The Nation Weblog)

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