It’ll be hard in the future for any Thai martial arts movie not to be compared to Ong Bak (in fact this movie was directed by the same director as Ong-Bak), the badass punch-a-thon that put Thai fight films on the map. Just like when I was watching Tony Jaa fly through the air raining down elbows, sometimes you can watch a movie and know that you are watching a star. The presence and ability just stands out and you cannot help but be awed. While this happens occasionally in dramas and comedies, it is rare in an action film. But when it does you know it. Bruce Lee was such an actor. Jackie Chan is that caliber of actor. Chocolate is, like I said before, a Thai movie, that tells the story about an autistic girl and how she got her martial arts skill. She was born to gangster parents and her mother decided to retreat to the province to give birth to her, and to start a new life with her kid.
Instead of being a curse, her autism was the instrument where she got her awesome martial arts skill. She has a very sharp sense of hearing that would allow her to be so agile and good compared to her opponents. Chocolate is by no means a chick flick. Making a really meaty martial arts movie is a tightrope-line to walk – make it too serious and people who want fighting will complain it’s too dramatic; make it all about the fighting and people will complain it has no plot. So, although it is not a chick flick, I would say for a martial arts movie, it has a very good storyline.
I guess I could probably complain a bit about the very linear plot that borrows quite a bit from other films, many of the moves have been done in Jackie Chan films from years ago. Thanks to him, there’s really not a prop left that someone hasn’t used as a weapon. I do like the freshness of a female heroine though. With a female actress, it opens up doors of vulnerability that seldom seen in a genre dominated by men. Besides, a heroine is allowed to cry when the plot calls for. With a male main actor, the action is usually coupled with a dose of humor.
With all that being said, there are some really impressive moves that look like some crazy combination between taekwondo, break dancing and capoeira. The finale is indeed intense, a 20-minute showdown between Zen and four or five guys that just keeps getting more brutal with every kick. My only gripe, obviously, is the script, which is the only thing you can really fault when it comes to a well-made martial arts film. Thai fight talent is some of the best in the world, but I really can’t wait until someone comes along with a dense, epic script that really show the world what Thailand can do. If you are a fan of the genre you will thank me. If you aren’t a fan, this will likely make you one. Oh, and its available on Blu-ray for all you high-def heads out there. Video quality is almost perfect; it’s very clean, sharp, and colorful, with only a couple of grainy scenes. Pick it up!