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BORN TO FIGHT
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Panna Rittikrai

Starring:
Dan Chupong
Nappon Gomarachun
Sasisa Jindamanee

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After losing his partner while trying to catch a corrupt Thai General, a young cop travels with a group of atheletes to help the poor children of a remote village. But when terrorists loyal to the General sieze the village, planning to launch a nuke on Bangkok if thier leader is not released, the atheletes are forced to fight back. It's kung fu ass kickin' time, olympic style!
Is it good movie?
Born To Fight is a remake of a 1986 movie of the same name, directed by Panna Rittikrai, a Muy Thai mixed martial arts master and trainer, who both starred in and directed the original. Known as the master who trained modern martial arts superstar Tony Jaa, Panna has created an updated version of his 80's B-grade Thai masterpiece, this time shining the spotlight on another of his more talented students, the lithe and brutal Dan Chupong in the role of the young cop Deaw. Despite the fact that, like the original and other recent Thai films such as Ong-Bak and The Protector (both produced by the same crew and starring Tony Jaa), there's not much of a story and the movie is simply a showcase of some wicked stunt pieces and feats of the above mentioned gritty aggressive fighting style, the film is entertaining and the lightening fast pace keeps the flick flowing through the endless kick-assery.

Featuring many Asian athletic champions, the cast puts in a credible performance, and it's clear to see that like some of Panna's other students, Dan Chupong has acting talent and charisma to go along with his physical prowess. The stunts were all top notch, ranging in style from a Hong Kong shootout to the hilarity of a one legged guy taking out terrorists with a soccer ball! When you compliment all of the fighting with some seriously demented acrobatics, gunfire and some nifty explosions, this becomes one hell of an action filled movie. And speaking of explosions, the special effects were nicely done (one dream scene involving a nuclear missle and downtown Bangkok was an unexpected surprise). But what grabbed me most was the shear physicality of the whole thing, and the raw nature of the fights, stunts and acting. While the movie is also raw in some unwelcome ways (the cinematography is a little too B-movie cheap at times, and the direction, while good for action oriented shots, doesn't compliment the lighter moments), and the whole first act bit of the atheletes getting to know the villagers is a little played out and forced, especially after such an intense opening sequence, the rest of this Thai gem really grabs you by the throat and throttles the shit out of you. At times, the low grade cinematography works for the film, maiking it seem like you're watching an 80's B action flick, as opposed to a modern remake.

While I haven't watched that many action films from Thailand, I've been suitably impressed with almost everything I've seen so far. The rawness of the martial arts style, the earnestness with which everybody involved just dives in head first (often literally), and the good old 80's fun feel of everything makes me want to check out more of what Thailand has to offer. Well, that or at least go out and randomly kick soccer balls at people who might be terrorists. Then again... maybe not a good idea. If you're a fan of energetic and insane martial arts flicks, go out and get this and the original, because while they are similar, both are different beasts entirely simply because of the differences in Panna's and Chupong's fighting. And that makes both of them must see action movies for serious Asian fans.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.66:1.

Audio: Thai (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and subtitles in English.
The Extras
Last Call
While not as ass kickingly cool as the original, this update of Born To Fight shows that Panna Rittikrai still knows his action, and that he has turned out another star of a protege in Dan Chupong. Chupong, like Tony Jaa, has the physical chops and on screen charisma to become an icon of Asian cinema. The athletic angle was nice, as it was cool to see everyone from little kids to old folks to gymnasts kick in some terrorist skull (Chuck Norris would be so proud!). And in the end, what could have been utter crap was saved once again by folks kicking the shit out of each other. I mean, honestly, could you ask for anything more?
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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