Monday, January 18, 2010

The Sanctuary (2009)

I've started to believe that the ONLY people that can be involved in good fighting-movies from Thailand are:

1. Tony Jaa
2. Panna Rittikrai
3. Prachya Pinkaew

Maybe not in that order, but you get my point. Why? Because these three people, whatever they get involved in, knows how to show a good spectacular fight without trying to imitate either Hollywood or Hong Kong. I'm not saying that The Sanctuary is a total disaster, not like Hanuman: White Monkey Warrior, but it still far away from Ong-Bak, Ong-Bak 2, Tom yum goong, Born to Fight, Chocolate, Somtum... yes, even Mercury Man!

Michael B plays Krit, a looser that works at a temple. One day his twin brother finds an old vase buried in the ground and sells it to a shabby antique-dealer for 20000 bath. But someone wants to know where he found it, and kills him after a fight at a car scrap. Not long after this some evil foreigners - lead by Patrick (Russell Wong) and continues the dig. The fine two more vases and plans to sell these to some rich bastard somewhere. Krit and his new friend, a female archaeologist, wants to stop them of course...

Wow, want can I say? It started production in 2006, ran out of money and this is the result. Not really that good. First of all, the story lacks energy. There's logical wholes that Michael Bay would envy, and people just talk without having something to say - which is the worst kinda dialogue, because it makes the movie seem so much longer. Michael B is okey... but he overacts way to much, and looks sometimes confused. Russell Wong (who's the only real good actor here) has four henchmen: two Germans who can't act, a very stereotype gay guy that can't act and a long-haired dude which is okey and actually look a little bit dangerous. Mix with this is some uninspired nationalism and religion, which never works because it never seems to have a heart. 

But the most important thing is the action, yes? Well, it's not bad action. It's just to little Thai and to much modern Hong Kong. Don't expect any fancy wide wonderful shots of cool stunts and hits, here everything is hidden away in the editing. Sure, there's some cool bits here and there, but way to little. Michael B can fight, but is stiff and unfocused compared to Jaa. Some of the stuntmen is better, and shows some really nasty falls that seem to hurt. We have two bigger fights in the final, a couple of chase scenes earlier where Michael B is beaten up, the famous car scrap-scene - which is a disappointment, and a fun sequence with some typical exploding huts, big squibs and stuff that Born to Fight is filled with during all it's ninety minutes. 

Do you remember that cool scene in the house, where Michael B fights with swords inside a house? Lot's of cool stunts? There's a piece of it in the new trailer too. Well, it's not in the movie actually. At all. Maybe it shows up in the sequel? I have no idea, but I doubt there will ever be a sequel.

A few good action scenes don't make a good movie, and I just can't recommend The Sanctuary at all. Sad, I know. But that's life.

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