Sunday, April 18, 2010

Power Kids (2009)

Yes, right now I'm gonna write a little about a family movie. A pure family movie. Why, do you ask? Well, I will come to that soon. So just hang on. This is Prachya Pinkaew's third movie as a producer that clearly are made to generate a bigger mainstream audience in Thailand. First out was the excellent Chocolate, where JeeJa Yanin kicked some serious butt. The second was Somtum where Nathan Jones plays a stupid farang that befriends a gang och children. Not bad, but quite uneven. With Power Kids they obviously try to mix these two movies together, and it's a weird combination of very brutal action and family-comedy!

Five kids, among them the son of comedian Petchtai Wongkamlao (and they really look the same!) and Sasisa Jindamanee, who made her film debut in Panna Rittikrai's ultra-gory and violent Born to Fight in 2004, lives with Master Lek, a Muay Thai-expert that learns foreigners the basics in this ancient sport. One of the kids, a small boy, has a heart problem and needs a new heart. After a little adventure to a race track for radio controlled toy-cars he becomes seriously weaker and needs a new heart more or less directly. When he's at the hospital waiting for the new heart, terrorists attacks the building where the heart is, and takes everyone hostages! Our little heroes decides to infiltrate the place and bring the heart to their friend... which of course is more dangerous then they ever could have imagine.

So, why is this movie so much superior than for example US family-movies with a martial arts-spin? Here's a couple of reasons:

* It has a very high bodycount for being aimed at children. Actually, it has a higher bodycount than some of the movies I've seen that are aimed to an adult action-loving audience. People are massacred to death, squibs and slow-mo. The movie starts with a jungle-scene where soldiers are killing each other like there's nothing else to do in the world, and when the terrorists attack the hospital everyone that stands in their way is getting shot down! It's amazing, and I've never seen anything like this in a family-movie before.

* Producer is Panna Rittikrai, yes, the one and only stunt- and fighting-master of Thailand! This means that there is tons of spectacular stunts and fighting to be seen. It has the same problem as Somtum, and even Chocolate, that you rarely never see the grown-up's hit back. It's mostly the children beating the terrorists to a bloody mess! But sure, they get some beating too, not only by the baddies (more about that later), and the end fight where Sasisa and Nantawooti Boonrapsap fights with the leader of the terrorists, played by the great Johnny Nguyen, is great and the action highlight of the movie. But don't worry, there's a lot more.

It's basically Die Hard with children! I liked it, the kids had some talents and the action was most of the time very good and fun to watch. Even Conan Stevens (Somtum, Bangkok Adrenaline) has a small part, but gets killed way to fast. It seem like a normal thing that "farangs" are the evils ones in Thailand nowadays, in cinema, and so even here. But I guess that comes with Thailand's famous patriotism. But I can live with that. Something that I don't like is the way of showing that beating children as a way of upbringing is a good thing. Believe me, there's more than one scene where the kids have to get beaten with a wooden stick to prove that they've done something wrong, and this is by their master. The last thing we see in the movie is the same kinda beating, and he even beats the newly operated heart-problem kid. Sure, it's just something that suppose to be funny... but it takes away some of the charm of the movie.

But if you can live with that detail, this is a fun action-movie that's a lot more violent, bloody and brutal than the latest Die Hard. Not bad, not bad.


CiNEZiLLA said...

Die Hard with Kids. Sounds fucking Epic.


Ninja Dixon said...

Yeah, it's a strange movie... the more I'm thinking about it. Need to watch it again soon :)