Reviews by Country
The news arrived last week that celebrated Thai action choreographer Panna Rittikrai has passed away, at the far too young age of 53. He had been the driving force behind Thailand’s new wave of action movies, touched off by his work with his student Tony Jaa in 2003’s Ong Bak. Amidst a cinematic sea of elaborate fantasy wirework, CGI-enhanced stunts and elaborate, unrealistic weaponry, Panna’s films brought a grounding in reality back to modern action cinema: hard-hitting Muay Thai, … (read more)
Retitled from Jukkalan, after its lead character, to the rather more bombastic This Girl is Badass, this film is omnipresent Thai comedian Petchai Wongkumlao’s (a.k.a Mum Jokmok) seventh movie as director, writer and actor. We don’t get all that much Thai cinema here in Oz, but even casual viewers of the nation’s output — like me — will recognise him as Tony Jaa’s offsider in the modern martial arts classic Ong Bak, open-faced, wide-eyed and occasionally very … (read more)
Headshot screens at the Sydney Film Festival on June 13 & 14. Check the festival schedule for times.
Pen-ek Ratanaruang has always been a bit of a philosopher. When he burst onto the scene with the high octane comedy of errors crime caper 6ixtynin9 it looked like he was setting himself up to be the next Tarantino/Rodriguez/Park-type urban thriller auteur. That didn’t happen. Last Life in the Universe and Invisible Waves and Nymph happened, and it looked like he was … (read more)
Tony Jaa returns to our screens in another Ong Bak film, released here in Australia on DVD by Eastern Eye. And unlike Ong Bak 2, which shared nothing with its predecessor but the name and the lead actor, volume 3 picks up directly where the last one left off (so the rest of this review contains spoilers for that one — you can’t say I didn’t warn you!)
We begin the film with our hero Tien (Jaa) in chains, … (read more)
I spun up the disc for Raging Phoenix with some reservations. I’d seen the trailer and formed a number of assumptions: martial arts film, female lead, some sort of custom mixture of Muay Thai and hip-hop dancing. The latter sounds like something thrown into the mix by a marketing executive early in production: we’ve got to appeal to a younger crowd, people, so you’re gonna add some b-boy stylings and perhaps chuck a music video or two in there … (read more)
Slice is one of those films that very nearly defies review. A serial killer thriller cut from the same cloth as Se7en (can we move past this please?), with a dash of Ms 45 and Baise-moi thrown in for good measure, the central murderer weaves a tangled web of personal vendettas, righteous indignation and red herrings while offing some really ‘deserving’ types. If you’ve seen the aforementioned movies, you’ll clue in pretty quickly that there’s a sex crime angle to … (read more)
Back in 2003, a little film from Thailand introduced international audiences to a unique form of martial arts known as Muay Thai and a promising new action star called Tony Jaa. That film was of course Ong Bak. It became a blockbuster in its native country and went on to become an international hit. With no CGIs or wires, the movie simply relied on the amazing physical abilities and athleticism of its main actor – Tony Jaa. It made … (read more)
Being primarily a reviewer of anime it’s nice to occasionally review films that are made using real living actors. The only other film that I have reviewed for Heroic Cinema that was made with real people on screen was Imprint whish isn’t that different from 13:GoD. Both have violence and strange family relationships. Both have horror themes but 13 is more of a horror thriller whereas Imprint was a more standard psychological horror film.
13: Game of Death has … (read more)