Bullet Points: Born to Fight
The Gist: Young Thai police officer Deaw just made one of the biggest busts of his young career. Alongside his partner, he nabbed the infamous General Yang. The victory for Deaw, however, was short lived as his partner was killed during Yang’s apprehension. Deaw decides to take some time away and goes on a trip with his younger sister to a small village to deliver donated items. It is while there that the village is attacked and taken hostage by the remnants of General Yang’s army. Now Deaw must do everything possible to stop the attackers from securing the release of their tyrant General.
Every action movie needs a guy jumping while shooting two pistols… well in Thailand they do that shit on top of a moving semi truck.
The Cast: The story of this movie isn’t what drives the film. It is the action scenes that make this movie watchable. The cast are nothing memorable. Dan Chupong plays the lead hero Deaw, but unlike other Thai action movies like Ong Bak, this one is more of a team effort when it comes to saving the day. Kessarin Ektawatkul plays Deaw’s sister. I mention her because she has also starred in a couple of action flicks herself and after seeing her in this one I just might check out her other stuff. The other athletes who accompany them on the trip are all real athletes and not actors. This becomes painstakingly obvious when you see them act. It does, however, lead to some acrobatic action later in the movie. The villagers are there for two reasons, and that is to get shot and scream loudly.
Gymnastics will seem a bit cooler after watching this movie.
The Villain: General Yang is the main villain in this one but his men have more of a presence in this than he does. I know he uttered a few lines early in the movie but I don’t think he said a word in the final hour of the film. His troops are the real villains in this as they probably killed about 70% of the villagers. I don’t recall the name of the red-beret wearing leader, but he did get a rocket launcher to the chest ala Invasion USA which is always pretty badass. There were a couple of opportunities for the filmmakers to give the leads some good fights but they were missed opportunities in my book. There was one male and one female soldier hanging out with the leader. It should have led to a pair of excellent fights with Deaw and his sister but they were at different times in the movie and both of them were far too short in length to be significant.
Yep, they all die.
The Action: Now this is where Born To Fight really makes its money. While the story and acting in this movie isn’t anything to write home about, the stunts are out of this world awesome! We’re even treated to a Jackie Chan-esque end credits scene where they show us all of the times where it looked like the actors and stuntmen should have died. And believe me when I tell you that some of the stunts could easily have ended up on some CNN news reels. The fight scenes are pretty good too. We get a fight between Deaw and two guys who are all flinging around flaming sticks and bashing each other in the face. There are obviously going to be people talking about the “gymkata” in this one and it does get to be a bit much, but watching dudes kick grenades out of the air, knock a guy off a tower with a soccer ball, and beat the shit out of a guy on a balance beam is pretty badass. Seeing how the final 40 minutes or so was really just one big “fight back” scene, they had to get creative with a few of the characters. Our hero was able to put away quite a few guys but he didn’t really get his one big bad to fight against. There are a couple of sequences that were filmed in one shot and it really looks like something that John Woo would have done in the late 80’s which should be taken as a huge compliment. I thoroughly enjoyed the action in this one.
This dude takes out people with a variety of ball-shaped objects; coconuts, tea kettles, and hey, even a soccer ball.
Take It Home:
- First Impressions: I originally titled this review “Crazy stunts and Thai Nationalism”…I think that sums up this movie pretty well.
- Cast: Dan Chupong, who played Deaw, has appeared in all three Ong Bak movies.
Born To Fight is one movie that I say check out for the awesome stunts and the guy who carries the Thai flag around for the last 25 minutes. The story is nothing special (Die Hard in a village?) and the acting is exactly what you would expect from this type of movie, but a few of the action scenes are phenomenal. It is definitely worth the hour and 30 minutes it takes to watch.