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Dynamite Warrior

2 Ratings: 3.5
A movie

Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure
Release Date: July 6, 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Dynamite Warrior

Campy, Silly and Cartoonish...BUT The Action is Dynamite!

  • Sep 18, 2009

DYNAMITE WARRIOR (original title: Tabun Fire) is from the makers of ONG-BAK and Born to Fight, stars real life stunt man Dan Chupong (Born to Fight). After the major success of ONG-BAK Thai Warrior overseas, the U.S. became flooded with movies from Thailand. Some are very good (like Ong-Bak, Tom Yum Goong), most are watchable, majority are mediocre. This latest installment though, I've been reluctant to review, but what the hey, I'll give it a shot. Any movie that includes a scene wherein the hero has to use " virgin-menstrual blood" tipped rockets to defeat an evil magician consider me motivated.

An evil nobleman called Lord Waeng is in the business of importing farming tractors. He enlists his thugs to rid the land of water Buffalo to convince the townsfolk in buying his product. A " so-called self proclaimed" protector called Jone Bang Fai (Dan Chupong) will step in to save the day. However, Bang Fai is more motivated in finding his parents' murderer, which leaves him vulnerable to manipulation by an evil wizard and his beautiful daughter. This feverish quest distracts him from doing what is important; the protection of the weak.

Tabunfire (I'd rather call it by its original title) is a film that mixes in Asian mysticism, over-the-top plot mechanics, creative stunt work and the Muay Thai fighting system. The film may have the usual cliché, a misguided good guy, a wise man, an evil wizard, a beautiful woman, a dumb ex-con and an eccentric weirdo. The story isn't really deep or complex. I may even suggest that the plot is lacking. Think "Robin Hood" that collides with "Zorro" without the great acting. Some scenes are so campy that it is almost laughable. The director tries too hard to mix in satire and comic relief that the movie's screenplay stumbles at times. But the unsteady audacity softens the dull and canned melodrama between action scenes with screen peculiarities and cultural eccentricity that feed our curiosity on what would come next. (Lesser of two evils, anyone?)

To the film's credit, the action scenes save this movie. It attempts to blend the Muay Thai fighting system with a generous amount of special effects, wire work and a hint of mysticism. As a martial arts fan, the fight scenes are very well choreographed. The film does exhibit certain creativity in the fight scenes that may have the usual displays of rehearsed explosions and campy special effects. Whatever flaws the film may have, everything does seem to fit and does blend in the film’s tone and style. One thing the viewer has to do is NOT to take the movie seriously. A hero who throws around flint, who passes a bullwhip to use hand-rolled baby rockets that features some slow-motion effect to display the martial arts moves, one should know full well what he is in for. The action scenes are pretty well choreographed and full with knee-flying action. Like the movie or not, the movie is pretty fun to watch, despite its upright silliness.

Unfortunately, “Dynamite Warrior” is missing what most successful martial arts films have; a very charismatic lead actor. Dan Chupong is a capable action star and may fit the role, but his presence only blends with the other actors and doesn't make him "stand out". Don't get me wrong, Dan Chupong's fighting skills are nice to behold and it is his skills as a martial artist that will be the film’s selling point, but you just don't care about ANY of the characters (except maybe the pretty girl). E-Sao (Kanyaphak Suwankut) is the virginal maiden that just may be the key to defeating the evil wizard who is bothered that so many males are smitten by her own aunt. Director Charlerm Wongpim only has a slight grip on coherency and he relies too much on camera trickery. Too much does become a bit campy and cheesy, but hey, at least Wongpim knew what he wanted to do with the film; all the elements does blend well enough. The revenge subplot feels perfunctory to the film’s plot but the film does its best to try.
"Dynamite Warrior" aka: "Tabun Fire" isn't a proficient movie, it resorts to cheesy humor at times, an overdose of flashbacks to serve as characterization and some viewers may find it difficult to relate to what's going on. Watch this film for the hard-hitting action and outrageous stunts and nothing else. Just don't expect another "ONG-BAK or "TOM YUM GOONG" (The Protector). Hey, any film that seems to present pure campy martial arts fun is worth seeing even once. The film does have enough hard-hitting action to keep it aloft. After all, how can you resist “virgin-menstrual blood” as a viable plot device?

PICTURE/AUDIO: 1.78 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer isn't as crisp as I would have preferred, the picture suffers from mild smearing in dark scenes. However, the daylight scenes are rich with color and depth. ENGLISH 5.1 Dolby/2.0 Surround and Thai Language 5.1 Dolby/2.0 Surround. I checked the dubbed track and I have to say, the dubbing is decent but still unattractive. The sound effects suffer with the dubbed track that I would advise watching it in its original language with subtitles. (Since the English subs are good)
EXTRAS: Making of/ Stunts/ on the set/special effects feature

RENT IT! But recommended to those bored of the usual Hollywood fare. [3+ stars]

DVD through the basket of fire kick to oblivion E-Sao

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September 26, 2009
I don't see my comment here. Guess I didn't leave one after all. I'm really anti wire and I hate slow motion, but I'm going for this one anyhow because I just love Muay Thai and guys who use their knees. And as we all know, silly doesn't bother me...now if they would only add a few song and dance numbers...
September 27, 2009
This one is actually made by the folks who did ONG-BAK so there are no wires in the fights--they were used for the flying parts though. Dan Chupong has the skills although his charisma and acting ability is wanting. LOL! imagine Jet Li and Jackie Chan doing dance numbers....
September 27, 2009
I'll bet they can't dance worth shit. Things are funny like that sometimes. But dancers can give you some pretty convincing fight moves. Akshay 's got some martial arts training though so he doesn't have to fake it in CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA.
September 27, 2009
Actually, Jackie Chan used to work in those Chinese opera shows and he can sing! I've seen him dance in the "Tuxedo". The boy has got some moves. Li I am not sure, he feels rather too stoic most of the time. I will have to check this out just for that...
September 27, 2009
Not everyone in Chinese opera sings. I've heard Jackie sing many times. The first time was in ARMOUR OF GOD I think with Alan Tam. But I skipped TUXEDO so I've never seen him dance.
September 19, 2009
That poster definitely tells audiences what they can expect. "Campy, Silly, and Cartoonish" is right on the money. Now, I can't claim to be an expert on Asian cinema like yourself, but how come they don't make more movies with grounded realistic fighting instead of all the balletic wire-work stuff? I miss Bruce Lee and the old school Jackie Chan. Boo-hoo! : (
September 19, 2009
Actually, Tony Jaa is the one who made the "no-wires, no stunt man" thing popular again. Ong-Bak and "The Protector" are definitely wire-free. If you like wireless fights, check out the utterly realistic "Black Belt", "Fighter in the Wind" and "Ip Man" (last two are based on true stories). Ip man is based on the life of Bruce Lee's first teacher.
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2 Ratings: +3.5
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Dynamite Warrior
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