Muay Thai GiantOverview -
Seven foot gentle giant Barney Emerald is drugged and robbed while on holiday in Pattaya. Two Thai sisters, one who speaks English, the other,a Muay Thai kick-boxing champion, befriend him so he can recover his passport. When Barney eats the spicy "somtum", it has a physical reaction, sending him into a raging and violent martial-arts frenzy. The girls use the somtum to control Barney's powerful reactions to earn back his money and take down the local crime lords.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Since the Wright Brothers first took to the air in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, there has been only one question permeating throughout the heart of humanity. Who would win in a game of chicken, man or plane? Both have their strengths. Man has sentience, ingenuity, opposable thumbs, and a wide range of other potentially plane thwarting skills. Planes, on the other hand, have powerful jet engines, great weight and size, and the unstoppable, destructive force of... a plane. While lesser films have failed to venture even a guess, 'Muay Thai Giant' bravely provides us with the answer. So, who wins, man or plane? Well, I won't spoil it completely, but suffice to say, the answer is, we do. The audience. The audience wins. Well, briefly anyway. The rest of the movie kind of sucks.
'Muay Thai Giant' follows the adventures of Barney, a seven foot tall gentle giant who visits Pattaya, Thailand, where he is robbed of his money and apparently, for some reason, his shirt. He befriends two local young girls, a thief named Katen and her friend Dokya, who happens to be a Muay Thai champion. Together the gang soon discovers that when Barney eats spicy somtum he has violent, psychotic fits of rage which turn his skin red and anger level up to eleven. Insane spice induced madness notwithstanding, Barney and the girls get along famously and he ends up staying with them. Also, they eventually buy him a new shirt. For one silly reason after another, trouble keeps following the gang, which leads to some occasionally fun action sequences, mostly involving tiny Dokya beating the hell out of guys while Barney is helplessly banged around. When Dokya is kidnapped, Barney decides to finally unleash the beast inside, downs some somtum, and chases after the bad guys.
On paper, this movie actually sounded like it could be entertaining. It's the type of film that straddles that fine line between dumb fun, and just plain dumb. Unfortunately, it's much more the latter. The 'Popeye' meets 'Incredible Hulk' conceit of the story has some fun potential but is mostly wasted. When we are first introduced to the idea of Barney "hulking out" to some somtum, we patiently wait for the time to come when he eats it again and unleashes some violent mayhem on the bad guys. Fight scene after fight scene, we wait, and wait, and wait. Finally when the climax comes around, that triumphant moment arrives, and Barney goes all red with rage...it's only OK. In fact, the majority of the action and fight scenes are just all right. Yes, there is the aforementioned man versus plane incident, and there are some other fun little diversions, including an entertaining papaya battle, but as a whole, the fight choreography lacks the creativity that a film like this needs to sustain itself. Still, overall mediocrity aside, there are some tiny nuggets of entertainment to be found here, mostly in the form of some particularly poor acting from the villains.
Before I wrap up, I don't think one can truly talk about 'Muay Thai Giant' without mentioning my personal favorite character. He is a very minor player, who serves no real purpose other than to get beaten unconscious by a papaya (yes you read that correctly), but his brief screen time left quite an impression on me. I don't believe he has an actual credited name, but I have come to affectionately call him, "the guy who drinks soda out of a plastic bag." Why is he my favorite character? Why am I dedicating an entire paragraph to him? Well, because as my name for him might imply, he drinks soda out of a plastic bag--and that, is amazing. To clarify, I don't mean a plastic pouch like some sort of Capri Sun container. No, I mean a straight up clear plastic bag. Like a small shopping bag, with a straw sticking out of it. Naturally, you may be asking, why does he drink soda out of a plastic bag? Well, to be honest, I'm not sure. Was there simply a shortage of bottles? Is he just too cool for cups? Other characters drink a variety of liquids out of various glasses throughout the film and seem to have no problems. Are bags reserved only for colas? In the end, we may never know the answer. Perhaps, we simply aren't meant to. For all I know, drinking soda out of a plastic bag is just a fairly common practice in Thailand (apparently it is, yes I actually researched it). Either way, I prefer to go with my own assumption. He drinks soda out of a plastic bag, so we don't have to. And that, my friends, is a noble endeavor. A noble endeavor, indeed.
'Muay Thai Giant' is unfortunately not quite the entertaining action comedy it sets out to be. There are a few interesting fight scenes and an occasional intentional laugh to be had, but overall it's just dumb, and rarely in a good way. When a guy drinking soda out of a plastic bag is the highlight of a film, you know there are some problems. Then again, a man does take a running charge at a plane. So, there's that. To sum up, there's a guy drinking soda out of a plastic bag and a man fighting an airplane. Make your viewing choice accordingly.
Presented with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the video here is a bit underwhelming. There is an overall lack of fine detail and depth. Many scenes appear fairly soft and black can lean toward gray at times. Contrast is blown out in some shots but colors, for the most part, have a nice pop to them, exhibiting some welcomed vibrancy.
Some scenes display a blurry, smearing quality with motion, particularly on character's faces. This isn't always evident, but may be a sign of DNR. I did detect some minor edge enhancement, specifically when Barney is in his somtum fits of rage, though the haloing here may be a result of the process used to turn the actor red, and not a fault of the transfer itself.
Overall, the video here, while not completely terrible, is fairly unappealing. Some technical inefficiencies have led to a rather flat and lackluster presentation, but there are moments of visual richness.
Provided in separate original Thai and English dub DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks (though, the movie is mostly in English anyway) along with English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles, the audio here is also fairly lackluster. Dialogue sounds rather thin, and lacks depth and crispness. Surrounds do get some nice use with music and effects, particularly in the action scenes. Unfortunately, though active, the surround use isn't always integrated well and can come off as unnatural and forced.
Dynamic range is on the flat side, with effects and bass lacking a little bit of the punch one might expect, though balance between elements is fine.
Overall, a serviceable track that does have some kick, but it lacks finesse and fidelity.
Not a whole lot here. Just two brief featurettes and some trailers.
- Making of Muay Thai Giant (SD,
7 min) - A quick behind the scenes look at the film's
production, featuring some brief interviews with the cast and crew as well as some on set footage. Provided in standard definition in stereo sound with English subtitles.
- Behind the Scenes(SD,
9 min) - Some raw behind the scenes footage mostly showcasing the stunt work done in the many fight scenes. Not terribly interesting, but it was nice to see the filmmakers and crew show genuine care and concern for the stunt workers and talent when some minor mishaps occur, putting safety rightly first.
- International Trailer - The trailer for the film in standard definition.
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray - Several more trailers for other Magnolia releases provided in 1080p and 1080i with DTS HD MA and Dolby Digital audio tracks.
In the end, 'Muay Thai Giant' is a mostly unsuccessful foray into action comedy. It has a few moments here or there, but lacks anything more than fleeting sparks of creativity or competence. The video and audio are also pretty mediocre and the extras are slim. If for some reason you do choose to rent, or even purchase 'Muay Thai Giant' be advised that there is only one way to correctly watch this film, and that is while drinking soda out of a plastic bag. Actually, you may want to add some rum. Responsibly, of course.
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