Review: Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

You know those Thai movie posters?

The hand painted ones?

Where the men are impossibly manly, the women are incredibly gorgeous, and the colours are ridiculously lurid?

Tears of the Black Tiger is a whole movie like that:

That man, that woman, those colours. Man, those colours!

The Black Tiger is the most feared bandit around, a cool-handed killer who can ricochet a bullet ten times around a kitchen before shooting his man in the head. He rides with Mahesuan, a moustachio’d cowboy who is jealous of his comrade’s renowned skill. But the Tiger’s only weak spot is his impossible love for the governor’s daughter Miss Rumpoey, who is engaged to the Captain, who is hunting the Black Tiger, who is…

You get the idea, it’s a ten gallon melodrama, and all done from high in the saddle with rocket launcher wit. (And actual rocket launchers. These cowboys are packing more than just six-guns!). Director Wisit Sasanatieng delivers his day-glo western as both homage and piss-take of the heyday of Thai cinema. He makes mockery of it, but with absolute affection. It’s the sort of film where a loved one’s mirror is put in the top pocket is destined sooner or later to catch a bullet, where villains say “Danger? I love danger!”, where the scenery in the car rear window is projected black-and-white footage because it simply doesn’t matter. It also has hilarious cartoon violence, with — what else? — red paint for blood, and plenty of it.

Tears of the Black Tiger delivers a whole wagon-load of enjoyment, fresh from the days when going to the movies was plain good fun. Here’s hoping it will soon ride tall at a cinema near you.

9 Harmonica Solos out of 10.
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