Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Saturday Killer (Meu Puen Dao Pra Sao)

  • Directed by Yuthlert Sippapak
  • Starring Choosak Iamsuk, Sirin Horwang
  • Released in Thai cinemas on September 30, 2010; rated 18+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 4/5

An assassin named Tee Rifle situates himself in Bangkok's loftiest perches, overlooking boardrooms. He points his weapon and fires. Red mist fills the room and his targets are dead.

But this powerful gunman has a problem. He's suffering from just about every form of erectile dysfunction known to man.

That's the killer kernel of the plot of Saturday Killer (Meu Puen Dao Pra Sao, มือปืน /ดาว /พระ /เสาร์, literally "Saturn killer") yet another Yuthlert Sippapak joint – a jumping, jiving insane blend of genres that just doesn't let up.

Choosak "Nong Chachacha" Iamsuk, a comic-relief character actor who is typically the butt of jokes for his TV-comedy cohorts Pongsak Pongsuwan and Mum Jokmok, stars as Tee Rifle. It's another meaty lead role for the comedian and actor, who previously hefted the dramatic weight in Yuthlert's crime comedy Pattaya Maniac (Sai Lor Fah).

From wearing an boundless variety of wigs and disguises, jogging around the city, aiming his rifle, taking long, lonely drives down a mysteriously empty highway and writhing on the floor in agony and ecstacy, Nong fills the bill and carries the movie with ease.

He's helped by his leading lady, Sirin "Cris" Horwang, an actress and model who has rocketed to huge success and a string of product endorsements since her role as the winsome leading lady in last year's No. 1 box-office hit romantic comedy Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story.

Here, Cris falls back on her experience as bikini-clad magazine model, vamping it up in a tight-fitting female assassin's uniform and donning the cut-off jean shorts of a coyote dancer to show off her long, toned legs. She even gets to display her prowess as a trained ballet dancer (in real life, Cris runs a dance studio).

With Tarantino-like flourishes (including a score that closely mirrors the cues from Kill Bill – a nod to old-time Thai cinema, which liberally lifted Hollywood scores), Yuthlert jumbles the narrative up, beginning the film with Nong aiming his rifle and casing out Cris in her apartment. Her jerk-off boyfriend has invited himself in for coffee. But who is Tee Rifle aiming for?

He takes hit assignments to pay for an increasingly complicated and superstitious regimen of treatments for his erectile dysfunction, from a Chinese herbal medicine seller (whose shop he burns down), to an African witch doctor and finally to an Indian guru who has our hero drinking urine – just like, it's noted, in The Last Moment, the cancer-stricken romance that Yuthlert directed. Our hero director just couldn't let a chance for cheeky self reference slip by.

Pundits are making a big deal about fellow Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng's Red Eagle and the politics they believe are involved with that, but Saturday Killer more overtly and explicitly references the current Thai political scene.

Among Tee Rifle's targets is the leader of a color-coded political movement – green or purple, I can't remember which. Plus, on one of Tee's jogging rounds, he runs past the actual bamboo-and-tire barricades the red-shirt political protesters set up at Lumpini Park back in April or May.

It's that political target (played by veteran actor Suchao Pongvilai) that puts Tee on a collision course with Cris, the dance instructor and secret assassin he encounters in a bar and develops a friendship with.

Saturday Killer is part of Yuthlert's Meu Puen 3 Pak (มือปืนตรัยภาค), a Killer Trilogy that pairs veteran comedians with young actresses. Fans will notice direct tie-ins with the other entries in the trilogy, Sunday Killer, starring May Pitchanart and Kohtee Aramboy, likely the next release, and Friday Killer, with Ploy Jindachote and Thep Po-ngam, which was screened at the Phuket Film Festival earlier this year but has been moved to last in the series because of its more-dramatic tone.

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  1. May i know who is the 2nd actress or Chris friend?
    the sexy girl on last killing seen with Golden dress in short?

  2. That's "May" Pitchanart Sakakorn. She'll be featured in the upcoming Sunday Killer.


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