out on dvd: chocolate

Out on DVD his week... from the makers of Ong-Bak, another ass-kicking skull-cracking, bone-busting action flick from Thailand: Chocolate, directed by Prachya Pinkaew. I'll say it right now, action fans -- this movie is awesome. If you've seen the trailer, you know exactly what you're getting into. ("A special needs girl with a special need... to kick some ass!") It's down and dirty low-tech action at its best.

Yanin Vismitananda, aka Jeeja Yanin, stars as Zen, an autistic girl who picks some insane fighting skills by watching martial flicks and practicing the moves she observes at the boxing school next door. When she discovers a list of debtors in her ailing mothers diary, she decides to go collecting, and finds herself up against an organized crime ring. She then proceeds to kick everyone's ass. The end.

I can't say much about the story. It's deeply flawed, and the whole movie hangs on a fairly ridiculous representation of autism. But as action fans know, in a movie like this -- much like Ong-Bak, which also has a lame story and really weak acting -- none of that really matters. It's all about the action, which is insane. It starts off a little slow, but once it gets going, it gets going.

The movie works largely because of Jeeja Yanin, who's got some serious movie martial arts skills. I'm hoping we see more from her (as long as she doesn't get herself killed doing those crazy ass stunts). I've read that she's currently hard at work on her sophomore feature, a Thai action romance currently being referred to as the "Jeeja Project."

My big gripe about the North American DVD release from Magnet is the language situation. You have the option of watching the movie with the English language audio dub, which is ass-awful, or with subtitles, which only seem to work half the time. But again, if you're really just watching Chocolate for the action, I suppose it hardly matters. If you're a fan of movie asskicking, it's worth checking out.

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