Earlier this year, Five Star offered Muay Thai Chaiya, which fired on all cylinders in terms of storytelling and action, but failed at the local box office. Like Tony Jaa’s protagonists, the hero of Fighting Beat, Khem is portrayed as an extremely fit, capable and reverent young man. The story is straightforward; foreigners decide to buy the bar the main characters work at and use force when they are refused. It’s just at about 80min. so that really is just enough story frankly. Despite that being the main plot, there is a subplot, and this is the best part of the film, about the main character dealing with his father’s death and ultimately meeting his killer.
So guess what?! The lead actor can not fight at all. He can barely mimic some kicks and jumps, and I understand that trying to show authentic Muay Thai is what the director is striving for, but Thun Thanakorn looks as if he’s never heard of it. On the technical side, there is practically no budget and very little script. The actors do a fine job at acting, but there just isn’t much acting to do, so everyone wears as little clothing as possible. Everyone. Well I guess it doesn’t matter, because if you’re the foreigner wasting time watching this; consider yourself hustled. It is extremely dumbed down and the bulk of it is quite superficial. It has almost the exact formula of a bad slasher movie but just with kicks to the face.
The supporting cast is as lame as he is, if not more so. Are they supposed to be funny comic-relief or bad-ass Muay Thai students? Funny thing is why the heck the filmmakers didn’t hire a real English-speaking actor to play as David?! This David guy is the contrary of Sura Teerakul. Every time David is on screen, his wooden facial expression and English are becoming “comedy” on its own negative terms. The movie is an odd mix of two distinct approaches, and while I would have preferred a straight drama as I think it would’ve be great at it, I can’t fault it for being what it is, and it is what is very well. I don’t think the movie is meant to be taken seriously so maybe the joke is on me?
The thing is, if you really like hardcore action/fighting/martial arts scenes with true fighters and no stunt doubles, Thai cinema is the perfect choice! It is just too bad there are too many Muay Thai clones out there trying to recapture the magic that is Ong Bak. People around the globe started to notice Thai cinema which being memorable for their daredevil action scenes. It is just sad to see in 2011 how far these movies have fallen. Its not the best plot. It finishes to fast and a lot of it takes time to make sense. The fight scenes are amazing and the comedy works very well into the movie. Those positive statements aside, I wouldn’t really waste your time with this entry into the Muay Thai scene.