BANGKOK KNOCKOUT a.k.a. B.K.O.: BANGKOK KNOCKOUT [KOHT SOO KOHT SOH | KOTE SU KOTE SO | โคตรสู้ โคตรโส]

http://www.sahamongkolfilm.com/th/filmdetail.php?id=418

http://www.facebook.com/bangkokknockout

http://www.bangkokknockout.com/

THAILAND 2010  Directed by: Panna Rittikrai, Morakot Kaewthanee  Produced by: Prachya Pinkaew, Panna Rittikrai Cast: Kietisak Udomnak, Pimchanok Leuwisetpaibul, Sorapong Chatree, Supaksorn Chaimongkol, Kazu Patrick Tang, Sorapang Chatree

ROUND 1: I am aware that nobody cares about the plot of BKO: BANGKOK KNOCKOUT (those who would are most certainly not interested in the movie in the first place), so I will not spend too much time complaining about it.

A group of stuntmen is participating in a casting tournament for a Hollywood movie. They win, but are captured and instead of going to the States they have to compete against unknown enemies in a rundown real estate compound, while some rich people are betting on them, making – or losing – a fortune.

Of course the plot is stolen (only the plot holes are genuine), but to be fair the story also provides one of the more solid frameworks we’ve seen in movies like this. Just don’t ask questions, don’t expect logic.

ROUND 2: the film mostly features stuntmen from the teams who did some of the Thai action flicks we all know, so it makes sense that the story is drafted around a stunt team. It is clearly one of the smarter moves not to try to turn them into something they are not – as a result, BANGKOK KNOCKOUT feels relatively authentic and honest, and would have come close to the stunt film format I have proposed many times if, well if, they just had eliminated any kind of story for good. Never mind.

ROUND 3: You should think that six years after BORN TO FIGHT it’s about time to change the recipe, but innovation is absent around BANGKOK KNOCKOUT. I cannot see the motivation to do something new or anything that seriously outguns all the earlier Jaa / Rittikrai / Pinkaew movies (despite the director’s claims). By and large BANGKOK KNOCKOUT is more of the same, a pretty solid action fest following the well-known success formula. BKO is fun, fast and features some outstanding stunts and notable set pieces, but it must also be mentioned that the movie bears no surprises.

ROUND 4: Talking about the action I am a bit disappointed. It’s not that it lacks the wow factor, but I didn’t really feel excited about the choreography, nor did I feel the impact, no matter how tough the fights really were (or seemed). Maybe that also had to do with the fact that certain tricks are being used too frequently or have become too obvious, like wires, speeding up of images or armor worn under the clothes. I am not sure what was the intention behind the scene when one of the enemies takes off his shirt and reveals the exact same steel armor that makes many of these raw stunts possible (if you ever wondered how come they can kick and jump into each others stomachs like that, now you know), but it is also no secret that Mr. Rittikrai once again uses “dust” and water excessively to make the blows look better (Hong Kong did that already decades ago, by the way). So maybe there was no intention whatsoever.

ROUND 5: Saying BANGKOK KNOCKOUT is a good movie is like believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Barack Obama bringing about change. Technically speaking, the film is a disaster. Many things are executed so badly, you almost feel like watching a Making Of. Abandoned housing projects are being prepped as restaurants, the lighting is so bad that you can see when it comes from a spotlight, weapons are obviously fake (like the big axe that looks like a 20 g toy), editing and directing are not even close to editing and directing, and let’s better not discuss the dialogue or acting (but hey, thanks for the bearable farang villain). The mentality is a bit like “that’s good enough for the audience”: BANGKOK KNOCKOUT misses attention to detail, perfection, even professionalism, but if that insults you, or is just another “who cares” on the very long who-cares-list, is something everyone has to judge for her- or himself.

ROUND 6: with BANGKOK KNOCKOUT, the target audience gets exactly what they want, a no-holds-barred fight movie featuring an array of breakneck, sometimes awesome stunts. If you are into this kind of entertainment you cannot not like this one – BANGKOK KNOCKOUT is must-see action for any die-hard fan. As nobody has promised us a great movie, or any surprises, it’s not surprising however that BANGKOK KNOCKOUT is not a great movie, and not surprising.

Despite BANGKOK KNOCKOUT kicking ass like crazy, it is also a copy-and-paste job, a hardboiled mashup of what’s been done before. It features enough borderline insane action to entertain from beginning to end, but in the future someone will have to rethink action made in Thailand as it all starts to feel like a TV show in its 50th season.

J.


 

 

 

 

 

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