Thursday, February 25, 2010


For a movie glutton, I've gone a while without watching a movie.  Between working overtime and last weekend's 50 mile race, I haven't had a lot of time to watch movies.  I was a little tired when I got home last night, but thought I'd watch a movie anyway.  Chocolate did not put me to sleep.

This may be the first Thai movie I've seen.  I watched with the English dubbing, which I usually do for martial arts movies.  On the plus side, I can watch the action without having to read subtitles.  On the negative side, I have to listen to some really bad voice acting.  So it's hard for me to judge the acting in Chocolate.  I think it was bad, but that's not really the point of the movie.  The point was to have a story to string together some really amazing fight scences.

Zen, the autisitic daughter of a Japanese gangster and the former mistress of a Thai gangster, has lightning-fast reflexes and amazing imitative abilities.  From watching the kids at the martial arts school next door, as well as hours and hours of martial arts movies, she becomes a phenomenal fighter.  After her mom, Zin (maybe in Thai their names aren't almost exactly alike),  is diagnosed with cancer, her friend Moom finds a notebook which details all the money owed to Zin by her former criminal acquaintances.  So to raise money for Zin's medicine and treatment, Moom takes Zen around to each of them to collect what they owe.

As you might guess, they don't want to pay, so Zen fights them all until they pay up.  These fight scenes, the purpose and core of the movie, have to be seen to be believed.  Zin's gymnastic, athletic moves are fun to watch.  Of course, the whole ridiculous set-up, typical of this genre, is laughable, but that doesn't change the spectacle of the fight choreography.  I did find myself asking, why are these grown men violently attacking a teenage girl?  But I do no claim to know the Thai criminal mind.  And of course every scene ended with dozens of men groaning, lying on the floor, having been vanquished by this young girl.

Be sure to stay for the credits.  After the movie ends, they show the aftermath of some of the fight scenes, which included plenty of bandages, ice, neck braces, and, in at least one case, a hospitalization.  These people suffer for their art, but you know they love every minute of it.  The tag line from one preview I saw was great: "A special-needs girl with a special need to kick some a--."

Bottom line: 3 stars.

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