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Born To Fight
cast: Dan Chupong, Sahaschai Chunrum, Noppol Gomarachun, Kessarin Ektawatkul

director: Panna Rittikrai

96 minutes (18) 2004
widescreen ratio 16:9
Momentum Asia DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Thai police officer Daew is hailed as a hero after arresting notorious drugs lord General Yang, but is mourning the loss of his partner in the operation. When his sister's athletics team arranges to deliver aid to an isolated village, Daew reluctantly agrees to go along. But the General's private army have decided to take hostages to force the release of their leader - and guess which village they've chosen to attack? Daew teams up with the village leader's arrogant son Tun to take on the bad guys, Die Hard style - but when he discovers their captors plan to unleash a nuclear weapon on Bangkok, the situation becomes even more fraught...

Well, no one's saying this is a plausible slice-of-life drama. Even having an athletics team on hand doesn't explain why everyone's a martial arts expert, and the nuclear weapon seems to have been thrown in for no reason whatsoever. However, this Thai chop-socky puts a new spin on Hollywood action movies, throwing in Buddhism, national pride, girl power, and the common man rising up against criminal oppressors.

The action is impressive, and very varied, from the lorry chase that starts the movie to the dust-up as the villagers take on the army of criminals. The cinematography in particular is excellent, showing off the fights to the full. The characters may be thinly drawn, and the overlong scenes of charming villagers receiving charity are a little cloying, but there's plenty here to keep action fans happy nonetheless.

Born To Fight is hardly a giant leap forward in movie making, but it's a reliable piece of entertainment with just enough of a message to keep you engaged. With the old-fashioned Hollywood shoot 'em up going out of fashion, the east might just hold the future of action movies. Judging from this, they've already mastered the 1980s' Bruckheimer/ Simpson model.

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