Archive for the Panna Rittikrai Category

Review: The Protector 2 (2013)

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Tang, Marrese Crump, Panna Rittikrai, Tony Jaa with tags , , on March 11, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Tony Jaa, Jeeja Yanin, Pechtai Wongkamlao, Marrese Crump, RZA, Patrick Kazu Tang, Jawed Al Berni, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Theerada Kittisiriprasert

Fight Choreography by Panna Rittikrai

Directed by Pratchya Pinkaew

It’s been well documented through various sources concerning the meltdown Tony Jaa had that occurred during the making of Ong Bak 2 and 3, and his subsequent break from filmmaking. After a time Tony Jaa returned to filmmaking with the announcement of The Protector 2, and would be reunited with his Ong Bak crew and joined by Jeeja Yanin, in a film that once again finds a group of bad guys who haven’t learned not to mess with Jaa’s elephant. A can’t-miss film, right?

Wrong. My worst fear for Tony Jaa became true.

We once again join elephant owner Kham (Jaa) who lives in a small village and takes care of Khorn, now an adult elephant. One day Kham gets a visit from a local elephant wrangler named Suchart who wants to purchase Khorn, but of course Kham refuses the money (did Suchart not know how many asses Kham had to kick to get Khorn back?!), so of course he has to kidnap Khorn, but the reason why isn’t as black and white as believed, as Kham goes after Suchart, and upon breaking into his home Kham finds that Suchart is already dead. Kham gets attacked by his two young daughters who blame him for his death, Ping Ping (Yanin) and Sue Sue (Kittisiriprasert),  and soon Kham finds himself on the run, being chased by his old friend Mark (Wongkamlao), now in Thailand on loan to Interpol, the two daughters, and men hired by gun runner LC (RZA) who have taken Khorn to bring about the assassination of the leaders of East and West Katana, who have gathered in Thailand for peace talks. Kham must evade the police, and find a way for Mark, Sue Sue and Ping Ping to believe in his innocence in time to stop LC and his goons from using a bomb-strapped Khorn to commit an action that will continue a war…

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The story here is utterly ridiculous in how Kham gets involved, and the bad guy LC makes strange decisions, and what little there is in a plot is further hampered by characters whose stories ultimately go nowhere. Jaa returns as Kham, and while he still kicks ass, there is something missing in the performance to make me care. It doesn’t get any better with LC, and the fact that the RZA is playing him, and his acting is far worse than Jaa’s, continue to bring the film down. I wish that Jeeja Yanin would be a saving grace, but she’s not in the film enough to be. I have to say that her part is the most disappointing of all. This film should have presented her and Jaa in much the same way that Supercop presented Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, but here Yanin is a young woman whose martial arts skills are muted, and she gets nothing but beaten up the entire film, even by flunkies. Where is the girl from Raging Phoenix and Chocolate?  Yes, she is playing a different character, but using Michelle Yeoh as an example, she brought her history with her to Supercop as a badass, and Chan never had to “save” her (for the most part), but here Yanin needs Jaa to save her at every turn. They are never equals. There are only two actors here worthy of note. Petchai Wongkamlao is great in his return as Sergeant Mark, even if he isn’t as funny as the first film. He brings better acting to every scene he’s in, and he has to, as he has to prop up every scene with Jaa, and is able to do so. The other person I want to mention is Marrese Crump as Number 2. He brings a genuine imposing menace, and in truth he should have played LC.

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The fights and stunts here are really disappointing, save for two fights. The stunts are more over the top, but with that brings CGI effects and wirework, two things the first film didn’t have. I have an expectation—and I think many of you do too— of seeing Jaa effects-free, and was disappointed to see this film effects-filled. The motorcycle chase/fights are laughable in their impossibility, and for the first time in a Jaa film I constantly wondered if what I saw was real. Let’s not even get into the fight where he once again sets his feet on fire. Only this time the fire is computer-generated. Even the fight choreography of the late Panna Rittikrai was lacking of originality and energy.

The one lone bright spot is the two fights between Tony Jaa and Marrese Crump. Crump is positioned to be a star here (Okay, Marvel Studios, you have your new Blade! Get on that!) and the fight is great between the two men. Of course, this is nearly wiped out by the finale, which involves Jaa fighting RZA, whom I am sick and tired of seeing playing a martial artist when he isn’t one.

At the start of this review I stated that my worst fear for Tony Jaa came true. That fear was that during his sabbatical from film the world of martial arts film moved on without him. While he was gone The Raid raised the bar and became the new gold standard,  Jackie Chan got some of his mojo back, Scott Adkins continued to kick ass, and Donnie Yen was rocking along as well, and even Jeeja Yanin had some hits.

Can Jaa get his mojo back? I’m not sure. The next few years will tell the tale of whether he’s still the successor to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, or if he’s simply a placeholder.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

A lackluster sequel with poor storytelling and laughable characters. And far too much CGI for a Tony Jaa movie. So disappointing.

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Panna Rittikrai’s last! The Trailer for Vengeance Of An Assassin is here!

Posted in Dan Chupong, Panna Rittikrai on November 7, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Thanks to the good folks at Soreelflix for this heads up…Panna Rittikrai has left us with one final film, and goodness, it may outdo the insanity of Bangkok Knockout! The old shaolin man alone is reason enough to see this film, as well as anything with Dan Chupong, but that shot of Dan shooting that guy as they both fall from a building! Damn! I am pumped to see this! They may also be in the running for best martial arts scene on a train…

Here is the trailer:

Farewell to the Legendary Panna Rittikrai.

Posted in Panna Rittikrai with tags , on July 20, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

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Today is a terrible day if your a fan of martial arts films. Panna Rittikrai passed away today at the young age of 53. I remember hearing about the Thai action films he had done starting with Born to Fight, but never watched it or considered it much. Then I heard his name at the same time I heard about Ong Bak, and a new young martial artist named Tony Jaa. Upon seeing Ong Bak I was struck by how much the fights had that same devil-may-care attitude not seen since the early days of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung films, and I loved every second of it. Then came The Protector, and once again Panna stepped up his game, with a finale that was as terrific as it was wince-inducing.

Panna then introduced us to another young star in Jeeja Yanin and her film Chocolate, which brought back visions of the younger days of Michelle Yeoh. Panna has confessed that he was inspired by the films of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Woo Ping, and it’s very apparent in the way he choreographs his fight scenes, mixing fast paced choreography with bone-crunching stunt work. Then the insanity hit an all new level with the remade Born To Fight and Bangkok Knockout, which showed some of the most craziest stunts I’ve ever seen.

Panna came in just as martial arts films were growing a bit stale and brought an energy that rippled throughout the industry. I had hoped to see what Panna had up his sleeves next, but alas we will never get to see it.We will get two more films that Panna has worked on, A Man Will Rise, with Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren and Vengeance of an Assassin with Dan Chupong. I look forward to those films, but with a heavy heart.

We’re going to miss you, Panna, and we will never forget what you’ve brought to martial arts cinema. You’ve inspired many, including myself. Today let’s all watch a Panna Rittikrai film, and marvel again at what he’s achieved.

Thanks for the stunts, Master Panna!

 

Review: Jakkalan (aka This Girl is Badass!) (2011)

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Panna Rittikrai with tags , , on November 11, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Jeeja Yanin, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Akom Preedakul

Fight Choreography by Panna Rittikrai

Directed by Petchtai Wongkamlao

Jeeja Yanin has been hailed by many as the next Michelle Yeoh, and she may yet be. Chocolate was fantastic, and Raging Phoenix wasn’t nearly as good, but had some good fights. Now Jeeja returns with an action comedy in  Jakkalan, and I must say this wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Jeeja stars as Jakkalan, a bicycle messenger who lives with her Uncle, an old man who owns a legit video rental store, and pines after a woman who lives in his neighborhood by helping her and her daughter for reasons to be revealed later. Jakkalan also has a childhood friend who has a crush on her, but Jakkalan has a crush on a musician who lives in her neighborhood. Of course, these are small stories built around another, which is Jakkalan’s uncaring attitude about who she delivers what to, and in this case she delivers a briefcase of cocaine to a group of local dealers, both of whom believes that the other is trying to screw them over. Jakkalan finds herself smack dab in the middle, trying to avoid getting killed while doing her job, trying to get the boy next door, and make her strange boss happy.

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As a story, Jakkalan is more of an action film than anything else. I think Jeeja does an okay job with it, but there isn’t much to her character, unlike Chocolate and Raging Phoenix. She actually isn’t a likable character, basically a teenager full of herself. Faring much better is her Uncle, and Petchai plays him as a world weary man who hides a terrible secret that’s never really resolved. I think there was a much better film in his story than Jakkalan’s. I’m not that familiar with Thai comedy, but most of it never really worked for me. The baddies were trying to be these Tarantino-odd like guys, but they came off really lame.

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The fight scenes were really disappointing. I expect so much more from Rittikrai, and it really felt by-the-numbers here, rather than trying to push his own envelope. That could be due to the lighter tone of the film compared to many of his others, but the best fight was between Jakkalan and the assassin in the school-girl out fit. They have two bouts, and both are really good. Outside of that, the stuntmen did a good job, but this film felt more like 90’s Jackie Chan than 80’s, if you get my meaning. I wasn’t impressed with the fights in this film and expected so much more from both Yanin and Rittikrai.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

Jakkalan is a disappointing comedy featuring great talents wasted in Jeeja Yanin and Panna Rittikrai. The tone of the film veers wildly all over the place. I’d suggest watching Chocolate again while waiting for Chocolate 2 and The Protector 2.

The Protector 2 has a new trailer! Featuring Tony Jaa and Marrese Crump!

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Tang, Marrese Crump, Panna Rittikrai, Prachya Pinkaew, RZA, Tony Jaa on August 29, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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I was already pumped for this film, and I’ve heard from some people who saw the first trailer that there was too much CGI. There was some, but I trust Panna Rittikrai to pull off some amazing non-CGI fights, and that’s the message this trailer looks to deliver here.  The CGI is probably simply an enhancement for the 3D aspect of the film. I trust the filmmakers, so I have faith there won’t be too much of it. Besides,  with Jeeja Yanin, Dan Chupong, and Patrick Kazu Tang aboard, I doubt this will be anything less than awesome. Kinda reminds me of the Jackie Chan/Yuen Biao/Sammo Hung classics.

So watch the trailer below and sound off in the comments (as if I have to ask you to watch!)

 

DAMN RIGHT! The Teaser for Tom Yum Goong 2 (The Protector 2) is live!!

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Tang, Marrese Crump, Panna Rittikrai, Prachya Pinkaew, Tony Jaa with tags on July 26, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Yes, Yes, Yes. Simply watch. Just watch. Tony Jaa is back, people! Sound off in the comments and tell me what you think!