The Tiger Blade is the latest attempt by Thai filmmakers to capitalize on the sudden success of Thai action films, made popular by Tony Jaa’s exhilarating Ong Bak. All of the usual staples are thrown in — the maverick cop, the menacing villain, the comic relief sidekick, hot cars, scantily-clad babes, high-tech gadgetry, and high-flying action. The plot line is complicated, the CGI work is below standards, some of the action is shot too close and edited too fast and there are massive character holes. But, what it does well, it does really well, and what it does well is have fun.
I’d try to sum up the plot, but this film makes more or less zero sense on more or less every level. But, I’ll give it a go anyways…a well planned jailbreak puts the heads of a powerful crime organization back on the streets of Bangkok, and its up to one of Thailand’s best police officers, to put them back behind bars. The star cop begins tracking down the criminals, but soon discovers that the black magic they control makes them invincible and that only the mystical Tiger Blade is strong enough to strike them down.
Like a modern day equivalent to the cheapie flicks being pumped out of Indonesia and Malaysia at the height of Hong Kong’s reign over action in the eighties and nineties, The Tiger Blade knows exactly what its purpose is, who its target audience is, and understands how to deliver on that promise at a fraction of the cost. I still haven’t seen a boring Thai film, and despite all this stupidity The Tiger Blade sucked me in with its anarchic sound and fury. That said, the overall stunts are quietly impressive at times but nothing here suggests that Tiger Blade will stand out from the crowd.
I’m sure you could take 20 people that have seen this and ask them to write down their version of the plot, and you’d likely come up with 20 different versions. Oh, but there’s a babe factor. The opening fight scene is in a nightclub, where’s there’s go-go booted ladies in hot pants on stage. In another scene, Yos comes home to his apartment to find his bed filled women in lingerie. It’s all quite tasteful, though, in keeping with the chasteness of Thai society and film censorship codes. Just go into this film expected a water-downed version of a Tony Jaa movie and you’ll walk away happy enough.