Saturday, July 17, 2010

1 2 3 Monster Express (1977)

First of all, I'm not sure when this movie was released - most sources say 1977, but some claims 1970 or 1971, and one say 1975. Sorapong Chatree looks very young here, so it could be the early seventies. Anyway, 1 2 3 Monster Express was the biggest blockbuster that year in Thailand and I can understand why. First of all, the story is very, very, very simple...

We have the usual suspects in a seventies thriller: the pregnant woman, the teenagers, a young military (Sorapong of course), one more typical leading man (Krung Srivilai, who I've mentioned here before), an eldery man and so on. All of them are traveling with a long distance bus, but someone really want to stop that bus. First a couple of robbers are following them and tries to stop the bus, but one man on the bus has a weapon and stops them - and they we realize that he's a gangster too - and that he has a couple more collegues on the bus! The passengers stops them too after some fighting and shooting, but are ambushed again by more baddies and is brought to a prison camp! From there they escape AGAIN with the bus, after a lot of action of course... and they more bad guys takes up the chase... and I even have to mention that there's a bomb on the bus?

I think everyone understands, this is non-stop action from start to finish (actually, the first ten minutes is quite slow but has a big fight and the last ten minutes is a bit slow, but has a pregnant woman giving birth on the bus) in the classic cheap but spectacular way we all learned to love from the Thai's. The fights are of course only fistfights and stuff like that, but it's violent and with a lot of energy. Bloody squibs, explosions and a few good stunts here and there makes this a damn fun movie - and even without subtitles it's easy to understand the twists and turns.

Visually it looks better than I thought it would. The claustrophobic setting on the bus is used with talent (and my god, it must have been warm on that bus when they shot the movie - no studio here, just a moving bus in the hot sun all the time) and the movie looks very fine. It also has two stylish slow-motion shots during the last half, but it could have been more if I could choose. What helps the movie even more is the stolen soundtrack, probably from similar American thrillers and disaster movies. It fits the mood and style, and it's nice to hear something else than cues from the Bond-movies, Pink Floyd or The Pink Panther-theme for once!

The Thai VCD looks quite good, even during the night shots, but is (of course) cropped on the sides. But it's one of the better looking VCD's of such an old Thai-movie I've seen. Recommended.


CiNEZiLLA said...

Still need to check out more Thai Cinema aparantly. It's obviously not all as bad as Iron Pussy... :=

Ninja Dixon said...

Iron Pussy is a special movie, so it's not fair to have that as a starting point for Thai cinema - and it works better if you've seen some of the movies it makes fun with :)

But hardly a masterpiece!

OCD, Cinema, Wine and Women said...

looks like old thai movies are worth tracking down