Magnolia Pictures // 2007 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 30th, 2007
It's official. I love the Thailand film industry.
I don't know what the law is about writing screenplays while under the influence of a hallucinogenic fungus in Thailand, but thank the Lord it's lax.
Dan Chupong (Born to Fight (2004)) stars as Jone Bang Fai, the Dynmaite Warrior. When he was a young monk, a mysterious man with a strange tattoo on his chest slaughtered his parents and ever since he's committed himself to seeking vengeance. All he knows is that the killer is a buffalo trader and therefore all buffalo traders are fair game.
But one day, Jone squares off with a formidable buffalo trader who possesses sorcery skills. Convinced this man is his parents' killer, Jone tracks down another magician called The Black Wizard (Panna Rittikrai, Born to Fight), and enlists his help. Amazingly, a guy named The Black Wizard isn't entirely trustworthy, and Jone finds himself in the fight of his life against evil magic, a ravenous cannibal man and a tractor.
Dynamite Warrior: the proud recipient of my WTF Movie Of the Year award. This flick is so insane, I don't even know where to begin.
The extended menstruation discussion?
Dan Chupong flying through the air on a giant stick of dynamite?
Those guys that think they're monkeys?
The tractor explosions?
Look, if you want to spend a wild 99 minutes parked in front of your television, you can't go wrong with Dynamite Warrior. Call your buddies, cook up some steak, imbibe alcohol and pop this disc in and you're destined for a helluva night.
Technically, the film is an action-comedy, and there is plenty of both present. Take the comedy first: the plot is so goofy to begin with -- a greedy Lord wants to sell tractors to the peasants and makes a deal with some thugs to capture and kill all the buffalo so the farmers are forced to shell out $1,000 (that's the quoted figure) for the new farm equipment. Add to that the sophomoric dialogue, which is even more bizarre with the English dubbed track activated, one of the corniest scores ever composed and a guy who surfs rockets and you've got yourself an exercise in near-incoherent absurdity. Then there's this:
But the real fun kicks in during the flick's over-the-top action sequences. The opening, flying-sticks-of-dynamite free-for-all sets the table for the fat, juicy buffet to come. There are big, big action bits strewn throughout, with the only break coming to give a goofy love story some time to percolate. Once the film hits the final third, however, prepare for an all-out onslaught of impressive choreography and frenetic mayhem. Dan Chupong is a gifted martial artist -- though he's not quite as fluid and dynamic as his comrade Tony Jaa -- and when the filmmakers shift away from the outlandish bits and focus more on hand-to-hand combat, the film crackles. Plus, Chupong knows how to twirl through the air and land on his head with the best of them. Much of the terrestrial havoc is executed in the brutal fashion fans have come to expect from these Thai spectacles, and the mixture of real-time and slo-mo camera shots work well to give these fight scenes juice. Fellow action aficionados, I am telling you, the last third is non-stop, and just when you think someone's unconscious or out of the fight, he returns for another ass-kicking. And the Final Bad-Guy Death? One of the all-time greatest.
Thankfully, Magnolia has delivered a fine disc. The film looks great, transferred in a clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, flush with vibrant color levels. The Thai and English 5.1 audio mixes are negligible as far as aggressiveness goes (they're both fairly active), but the dubbed version gives you some added comedy. Extras: the making-of documentary includes interviews with all the principal cast members, and three short slices of behind-the-scenes footage offer looks into the stunts and makeup process.
Of course, Dynamite Warrior isn't going to be for everyone: it's an orgy of ridiculous plot points and insane stuntwork and if you're looking for an actioner more grounded in reality you will not find that here. Oh, and though it's not rated, it would easily have gained an R-rating for a surprisingly gory scenes.
By the time the movie ended I had a big goofy grin on my face.
Not guilty. Dy-no-mite!
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Making-of Documentary
* Behind-the-Scenes Stunts
* On-Set Footage
* Special Effect Makeup