IRON ANGELS 3 (aka ANGEL 3) (1989) review

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In this third installment of Teresa Woo’s seminal Girls with Guns franchise, only Moon Lee, Alex Fong and Kharina Sa return from the previous film (with only the former two having starred in all three films) as the titular ‘Angels’, an elite task force that rids the world of assassins, dictators and terrorists. This time, Moon has to infiltrate a terrorist organization bent on starting a war between Thailand and Vietnam. She succeeds but has to leave her tracking device behind, so that Alex & Kharina, assisted by Thai agent Kwai (Ralph Chen) and a bony gweilo nicknamed Computer, are left running across Bangkok trying to locate her. It isn’t much of a plot, but that was never what the Iron Angels films were about. They were obviously about action, and in this respect this final film is easily the best of the bunch. The former two installments had stunning action, but lopsided structures by which they noodled around for an hour before exploding into non-stop action.

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THIS GIRL IS BADASS (aka JUKKALAN) (2011) review

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The budding Thai martial arts star Jeeja Yanin’s third and latest film as a lead, This Girl is Badass was directed and co-stars Petchtai Wongkamlao, a popular Thai comedian best known worldwide as Tony Jaa’s comic relief in the Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong films. JJ plays Jukkalan, a bike delivery girl who runs afoul of rival mobsters who hired her and whose dirty money she kept for herself. But this short plotline accounts only for a small fraction of the film’s scenes (mostly the action scenes). The bulk of the film actually focuses on Jukkalan’s world : her uncle Sawang (Petchtai Wongkamlao), who secretly pines for a pretty widow (Siriporn Eiamsuk) whose late husband he actually assassinated in his violent and unspoken past (this sounds somber but is treated in a very matter-of-fact way in the film, and never addressed when the two get closer) ; her boss Samureng (Akom Preedakul), a good-natured weirdo with a knack for outrageous outfits ; Duan (Chalerm Yamchamang), a lovesick and awkward boy who loves her but can’t seem to catch a break ; and, among a few others, Pong (Athit Amonwet) the boy she loves, but who she finds out is actually more interested in ‘elephant fights’ (we’ll let you guess or discover what that means).

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VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN (2014) review

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Vengeance of an Assassin bears the sad distinction of being Panna Rittikrai’s final film as a director (his final film as a martial arts choreographer will be Tony Jaa’s upcoming A Man Will Rise, co-starring Dolph Lundgren), after his untimely passing in July 2014, which left a gaping hole in the world of martial arts films. It follows two brothers, Thee (Dan Chupong) and Than (Nantawut Boonrupsup), whose parents were murdered when they were young, and who’ve been brought up by their uncle. Thee has revenge on his mind and leaves his home to become an assassin, much to the grief of his uncle(Ping Lumprapleng), whose last promise to the parents was that he would raise their sons to become normal people. But after Thee refuses spares the life of a woman (Nisachon Tuamsongnern) he had been contracted to kill and goes on the run with her, he is hunted down by a shady businessman’s team of assassins (including Kazu Patrick Tang and Nui Kessarin) and has to enlist the help of his brother, his uncle and the woman’s Chinese doctor (Malaysian actor Ooi Teik Huat) to fight back and get revenge on the businessman, who may also the one who killed his parents.

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