This Girl Is Bad-Ass. And yes, Jeeja Yanin is as bad as they come. The film, written and Directed by Thai TV comedian, Mum Jok Mok, (the co-star of Tony Jaa’s “Ong Bak” and “Tom Yum Goong”) is a kind of patched together version of Mum’s TV shows, featuring his cast of Comics with TV type gags. For many, who don’t speak Thai, the jokes make no sense, even with the subtitles, (whose translations are BAD) and won’t like the humor. Mainly, this is a story about a young orphan, Jakkalen, a super-mega Tomboy, (still cute) raised by her Uncle Reuwang, (a former mobster himself, now selling DVD’s in his video store stall in the market) and she is a Bike Messenger, who happens to be delivering “Stuff”, (red powder in plastic bags, presumed to be drugs). Jakkalen, is playing a dangerous game, trying to rip off the mob, while playing rival gangs against each other.
Because she is Jeeja Yanin, of course the girl can fight like crazy, and does. Also, a sub theme is a really ugly guy has fallen for her, and is constantly, painfully, stupidly, scheming to win her over. Jakkalen, in the meantime, having her first crush, falls for a musician who is not all he seems to be, which eventually she finds out the hard way. The film has gags featuring absurd costumes and get ups worn by some cast members, Midget Muay Thai, and keystone cops gangsters who are either not straight, or can’t shoot straight either. Really, the plot doesn’t have much substance to it, and it is very difficult to divulge it with spoilers, since it is too difficult to follow anyway. I watched this film in the Thai release version, and its Western release version as well, for one thing only, and that is to watch Jeeja kick ass. One thing that is interesting, is that the English version includes about 20 minutes of Jeeja fight scenes that had been cut from the Thai version, with the distributors obviously sensing that the market in the US and England was for fans of her Martial arts prowess.
The emphasis isn’t so much on the drama and action, but rather on the more comedic elements that Thai audiences like so much in their movie going entertainment. Not to say that there isn’t sufficient action on hand to showcase Jeeja’s formidable kickboxing talents, but that action definitely moves to a supporting role this time out. So much so, that having watched it as a foreign viewer, I can see why it took a bit longer to surface on DVD outside of Thailand itself. The fight scenes are well done, as always, by action maestro Panna Rittikrai, the Thai stunt trainer who discovered and trained Tony Jaa and Dan Chupong. I won’t spoil it, but what Jeeja does in her first two fight scenes will remind people of Jackie Chan, in the way she uses her environment, and every object in it as a weapon and/or a defense. It is very creatively done, and accompanied by some fun music that rocks and gets the pulse going faster. This film is enjoyable, entertaining, and a good opportunity to enjoy both the physical and comedic acting talents of a rising star, who I think is the new action Queen of Asia.
The film doesn’t match her debut, Chocolate, and is just different than her other movie, “Raging Phoenix”, and not quite as well made as the Thai/Korean martial arts film “The Kick”, in which Jeeja has a secondary role. But, it is worth watching, and will whet the appetite of all of Jeeja’s fans for the upcoming, soon to be released sequel to Tony Jaa’s spectacular film, Tom Yum Goong 2, starring both he and Jeeja, Marrese Crump, RZA, and Tazu, as well as Mum Jok Mok reprising his role in the original. This one I can’t wait for.