Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Gangcore Gud

  • Directed by Apisit Opasaimlikit
  • Starring Joey Boy, Buddha Bless, Sing Nuea Suea Tai, DJ Spidamonkee, DJ Leo, Lakana Wattanawongsiri, Kumiko Sugaho
  • Released in Thai cinemas on July 28, 2011; rated 18+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 4/5

Hokey special effects and a convoluted story are overcome by the charms of bouncing bikini babes and amiable hip-hop musicians in Gangcore Gud (ก้านคอกัด), a low-budget horror comedy that serves as a showcase for rapper Joey Boy and his crew.

Shot primarily in the same shaky videocamera documentary style as The Blair Witch Project, the movie recounts the adventure of Apisit "Joey Boy" Opasaimlikit and the Gangcore rappers as they go to a remote island with a boatload of bikini-clad magazine models but instead end up running from zombies.

After a slow buildup with plenty of sun-dappled scenes of bathing beauties frolicking on the beach, it suddenly turns violent when axe-wielding cannibalistic killers emerge from the jungle and start hacking everyone in sight. Fleeing for the water doesn't help, because there's aquatic zombies lurking, ready to chomp on fresh meat.

The bikini bunnies turn to zombies themselves, leaving Joey Boy and his band to head for higher ground in a bid for survival.

The action is choppy and for the most part too tightly framed to get a sense of what's really happening, though there are a few decent shots of practical gore effects.

Joey Boy and his ensemble cast of musical cohorts are natural performers, and the scenes of them simply trying to survive are the strongest in the film.

Big bearded rapper "Golf" Sing Neua, a.k.a. Fukking Hero, turns into a zombie and is trapped in a pit. Poor DJ Spidamonkee goes through the whole movie missing a leg – it was hacked off with an axe after it was bitten by the zombies. Another guy has his arms paralyzed by poison darts from one of the jungle tribesmen.

Joey Boy, who previously starred in one of Phranakorn's Monk Teng movies and the GTH rock 'n' roll comedy The Possible, holds things together, assuming his role as leader. He makes dryly comic asides on the ridiculousness of the situation – that it's something you'd only see in a movie.

The hip-hop trio of Buddha Bless, meanwhile, venture off on their own and eat mushrooms that first has them jumping around like Super Mario. They then begin hallucinating. One of the guys becomes a policeman, the other a Thai version of Satan and the third becomes the ubiquitious comedian Anek Inthachan (เอนก อินทะจันทร์), who like comedian Kom Chuanchuen (อาคม ปรีดากุล) is in practically every Thai comedy made (Kom makes a cameo during the end credits). The surreal hilarity of it all had the audience in stitches.

The story heads off the rails when it attempts to explain why the island is home to zombies. Loincloth-clad, nostril-flairing drama queen Lakana Wattanawongsiri is the tribal chief. She rules over her Montagnard army, who worship her, like a goddess. The axe-wielding cannibals do her bidding to collect sacrifices to feed the zombie spirits, which apparently were angered by the killing of a mermaid many decades ago.

A Japanese tourist (Kumiko Sugaho) also figures into the increasingly complicated tale, as does a cache of World War II-era weapons.

Satisfyingly, Joey Boy picks up a pair of swords and heads out to the beach in the rain, and in slow motion starts cutting down zombies and cannibals. The two-handed sword action is like a scene out of a Thai historical action flick, which is surely not a coincidence since Bang Rajan director Thanit Jitnukul served as an adviser on Gancore Gud, the directorial feature debut by Joey Boy.

Released by Phranakorn, Gangcore Gud might find audiences outside Thailand on the genre-fest circuit or at midnight screenings.

The narrative keeps rolling right through the closing credits. In fact, the whole story is told as a flashback by Joey Boy, talking on the phone to a strange woman, while he's trapped in a dark space of some sort.

And suddenly the lights come on.

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  1. Hmmm? Can't be any worse than the virtual landslide of Indonesian "Babes & Ghouls" films out there that I watch by the uncounted number... so I'll probably give it a look see. If I can ever find subtitles for it when it comes to DVD... Hehehehe!!

    Thanks for the nice review in the meanwhile.

  2. This was a rollicking roller-coaster ride that really kept you hysterically wondering what was going to happen next. Very funny and very enjoyable with classic zombie gore. If you're a fan of the early Peter Jackson films and 1980s beach romps, then this is the film for you.

    Character comedian Jazz Chuancheun also makes an appearance with Khom.


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