Copyright © Sahamongkol 2010
BKO – KNOCKOUT
If there's one thing that was certain was that after the disappointing Ong Bak 3 That the next film from Sahamongkol would be a cracker , Towards the end of last year it was announced that Panna Rittikrai was in the process of making a another action martial arts film with a group of new faces to amaze us.
In December 2010 BKO was released in Thailand , the DVD followed in the new year ,but was not English subtitled of course due to American and European companies picking up the rights and Sahamongkol not wanting to bite of the hand that feeds them.
So now it's July 2011 and BKO ,aka Bangkok Knockout aka Knockout (UK). I had waited since the beginning of the year to see the new showcase from Panna Rittikrai.
So what about the plot ,well the story goes that a group of stunt people have entered a competition to win a place in doing filming in Hollywood USA . The group known as ''Fight Club'' are up against another group who also want to win this prized place.
By the skin of their teeth ''Fight Club '' win and have a night of celebration , After some drinks and a altercation with the caterers ( who's head is Panna Rittikrai Himself) the bunch wake up to all their belongings ,cars and members missing . It's at this point they are attacked by masked men and crazy car drivers ,using their skills they go after their attackers who they discover have one of their missing people ( A young girl named Joy)
With more and more attackers appearing they get outnumbered and find out the hidden truth behind their victory in competition. What they have entered into is a reality death match where high paying customers bet against who will win and lose in a high stakes game run by a sleazy American named Mr Snead.
They bare told they must fight to save the girl and the mother and brother of Fight Club's captain. ''POD''.
And that's it, now the story bears a remarkable similarity to the low Budget American film ''The Tournament '' with Kelly Hu and Ving Rhames. Which I thought was pretty good for a budget film.
This is one of the flaws of BKO ,the story about rich high stake betting customers is so similar that you can only compare the two films . But where The Tournament had quite a good back story and introduced you each of the characters and their story ,BKO has one story ,save the girl by fighting your way out. Great I like my action hard and fast.
Now I must admit the action did not start straight away in ,you have to wait a good 25 minutes before the nitty gritty gets going. And once the action starts you will be amazed if you have Not seen a Thai action film before,but if you have you know what to expect.
Our group of fighters will use all manner of fighting from Kung Fu,Taekwondo Muay Thai and more to showcase marital arts action.
Now for the bad part ,where BKO fails is in the story being so simple it offers little to engage the brain ,but the worst part is that our big money stake holders are living it up in the back of a lorry (all four of them) Instead of having a luxury lounge and state of the art tech to view the fights ,they have a few cameras dotted around a construction site. Which is the second failing ,instead of having a varied selection of locations with alternate vistas all the action takes place in this construction site ,which shows the budget was kept to a minimum .
Another failing is I had no connection with the characters , a film needs a main character to connect with. In a fight film like this you want the hero to prevail and show he can kick arse in the process.
With BKO Panna Rittikrai cast nine stunt people who could fight ,( Hand picked out of Hundreds ) They where all trained in alternate arts to showcase the different arts. On the plus side this works to a degree , as the action on offer is outstanding , but there is nothing here you have not seen in Ong Bak ,Born to Fight or Dynamite warrior all of which had better stories ,better locations,and a lead you could connect with .
Good guys are good guys ,bad guys are bad guys ,some are double crossers , and this all happens in BKO ,but you know the action comes from all angles . At one point all fighters are fighting in a area so large that the aerial view you get of the action is vast , but at the same time messy. Making it hard to concentrate on any one fight.
Of course you have the obligatory idiot in the film for some comic relief ( Thai comic relief does NOT work in the West) .
I was also looking forward to seeing Panna Rittikrai in action ,as his character kept stating ,''he could beat them all single handed'' . When this did come about I was so disappointed , what happened to Panna and his moves ,he is so slow here and the end fight was a bit lame to me . After his battle against Dan Chupong in Dynamite Warrior this was a let down.
BKO 's problem lies in a super thin plot, characters you care nothing about and just a poor look to the film , I know Tony Jaa spent big bucks on the Ong Bak sequels ,but cutting corners now will only damage Sahamongkol's reputation.
With great action coming from Hong Kong again, and Japan getting back in on the martial arts bandwagon with some great films and even Vietnam producing top films like ''Bay Rong'' the film makers from Thailand need to turn up the production values or be left out in the cold.
Now you may be reading this and thinking what do I know , I don't know about the minority but I like a story and decent production at least with my films , and having spent a good ten pounds on this ( so glad I did not buy the Blu-Ray ,i nearly did) . And No the average Martial artist is not so shallow to Not want a story in his or her film, I am one and have seen loads of films low budget and high budget which entertain and not just in the fighting stakes.
Further proof of the lack lustre feel to this movie is if you like your fight action thick and fast then you all should check out two other low budget offerings before you brand me a s a lunatic.
The films I mean are two films from the States ,both are ultra low budget and offer Fantastic fights they are the so called comedy from the Stunt People ,''CONTOUR'' and the other which like BKO has only one location for the filming and that is ''Broken Path'' with Johnny Yong Bosch. The latter is viewable on the internet streaming site ''Stagevu '' .
If after viewing these you still believe that a company like Sahamongkol and the legendary Panna Rittikrai have made a above average film that surpasses these two films which in fact are just showcases for the fighting then you must be watching this after drinking ten beers.
I so much wanted to like this movie but after such a slow start ,it did not give me that buzz I expect from Panna Rittikrai .
I wait with anticipation what next Sahamongkol will produce as many of there past films have entertained me in many ways and I just hope that ''The Kick'' and Chocolate 2 are better then this average Thai action fest Basically a case of great action marred by the rest of the film.
Score out of Ten = 6
Review Date July 08-07-2011
Original Poster from :Sahamongkol © 2010
Magnet Releasing USA Poster and DVD cover artwork © 2011
Optimum Home Entertainment UK cover © 2011
Fight Club win the prize. Don't look happy though
Guess what Guys? we lied.
The tight Mr Snead entertains in his Container Lorry.
That will teach you to rip my Stockings.
I know lets fight under this water ,or we could just move out of the way.
One of our team gets her own back .
Things get serious here!
Oh No! Jason from Friday 13th has arrived
We've had enough,where just gonna run you over Now.
Yes that is ''KAZU '' next to Panna Rittikrai ,but he does no fighting here. WHY ?
|Directed by||Panna Rittikrai|
|Distributed by||Sahamongkol Film International (Thailand) |
Magnolia Pictures (U.S.)
|Release date(s)||December 16, 2010|
|Running time||105 minutes|
| Gitabak Agohjit |
|Speedy Arnold||...|| |