Friday, May 7, 2010
Operation Bangkok (1967)
Operation Bangkok is an awesome Thai/Hong Kong co-production from 1967. Starring the only and only, Mitr Chaibancha and leading ladies Regina Pai Ping and (of course) Petchara Chaowarath, this a action-packed, fun and visually strong action movie with enough kitch for everyone. No subtitles of course, but Chaibancha's character seem to go undercover (as usual) in some crime organization and gets in to a lot of fistfights, always with a perfect hair cut. Yes, except a slower half-hour during the last hour of the movie (it's almost two hours long), this is a damn effective and good-looking piece of action cinema. There's more the one fistfight, often violent and with excellent editing. Shoot-outs, car-chase with helicopter, a fight on a speeding boat and even more fistfights!
Shot on what looks like 35 mm, it look less cramped than some of Chaibancha's 16 mm-movies from the same era, and the co-production with Hong Kong probably brought a lot more money into the production than usual. It's also shot in Hong Kong, some parts at least, and boats a big cast of cool actors. The production is slick and looks like a much bigger movie than it probably was, and the only thing that makes this film suffer is the very scratcy master - but still, it's probably the only version left and this is as good as it ever will look nowadays.
Chaibancha is as usual an excellent leading actor, and this time he's also paired with another guy who I don't know the name of, but he has a great face and has a lot of chemistry together with Mitr. One of the fights in the end, where both of them are fighting each other in some old warehouse is one of the action-highlights of this charmer of a movie. Another wonderful thing is the cool music numbers. Because this movie is set in couple of different nightclubs, so there's always a new Thai-pop/beat group playing on stage, probably real groups doing cameos. Most of the time we're allowed to see the whole numbers too, so it's a great way of watching kitchy Thai-versions of western pop/rock/beat!
I have a lot of good things to say about Operation Bangkok, because it deserves it. Even with out subtitles and with a constant rain of scratches, this is one of the best and coolest Chaibancha-movie I've seen so far.