Magnolia Pictures // 2011 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 18th, 2013
She's the best in the business.
Whenever Ong Bak is name-dropped in piece of movie marketing, I am skeptical; not because Ong Bak isn't awesome, because it most certainly is, but rather I can't remember the last film I saw that utilized this piece of PR that was watchable. This Girl Is Badass continues the dubious tradition.
Jukkalan (Jeeja Yanin, Chocolate) is a bike messenger tagged to run some sensitive information on behalf of a cabal of shady criminals. Unfortunately for her, this cabal of shady criminals has to contend with a similarly shady cabal of criminals and soon enough a full-scale thug war erupts, with Jukkalan trapped in the middle.
Unfortunately for them, however, Jukkalan just happens to be massively skilled in the arts of punching adult men in the head and she goes about doing this for the remainder of the film.
I need to stop getting my hopes about these things. The pool of goodwill that the Ong Bak guys built up with me as officially dissipated and, in truth, should have been discarded the moment after the ridiculous Ong Bak 3 faded to the end credits.
But look at this! The title is This Girl Is Badass. That is telling me a great deal of what my expectations should be going in. Magnet is bringing this over, and they tend to be a studio that can deliver the hard-hitting foreign fisticuffs with a regular rate of success.
So I fooled myself into thinking that I was going to get myself a slice of compelling martial artistry, that maybe, just maybe, I was about to see a return to form of Cinematic Ass-Kicking Reference Material. Of course, it all promptly faded during the first twelve seconds of the runtime, when I realized I was in for a bizarre action comedy that varied between goofy slapstick and jarring violence.
The story is immediately dispensable. I couldn't care less about who was fighting what gangster over what squabble, but, to be fair, I didn't jump aboard this train to lose myself in a narrative.
I am here for the girl who is apparently badass.
Jeeja Yanin has a fine stable of moves. But two things kept me from giving two figs about seeing whatever fight scene was next up for her: 1) the omnipresent fact that it's hard to buy a fighter with a such a slight frame wielding any damage at all with her blows, and 2) it didn't matter anyway because the sequences were so forgettable.
I should have know when the "R" rating was for "some violence" -- and that specific violence being referred to was almost certainly the out-of-place gunshot to the head that happens in the first third of the movie -- the fight scenes were going to be underwhelming. The centerpiece battle involves Jeeja with a bike and if you can believe a full grown adult male thug can get rendered unconscious by a bump to the noggin with a bicycle tire, then have I got the movie for you! It's all downhill from there, with similarly lukewarm bouts buttressed by incoherence. Avoid.
A reliably good Blu-ray from Magnolia, featuring a vibrant 1080p/1.78:1 transfer, a pair of DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks (Original Thai and English dub), English SDH and Spanish subtitles, a couple of making-of featurettes, and the international trailer.
She might be badass, but nothing about this movie is.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (Thai)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R