BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010)
Directed by Panna Rittikrai
[part of the NYAFF 2011]
What's the definition of action porn?
It's BKO: Bangkok Knockout which is without a doubt, the best action movie of 2011 (premiering in NYC at the NYAFF 2011). This is to be expected from Panna Rittikrai, legendary director of Born to Fight and fight coordinator for Ong Bak and Chocolate. He's made Tony Jaa ad Jeeja Yanin household names when it comes to action cinema.
BKO raises the bar of Thai action films so high, it's going to be hard to top it unless we get a sequel. The level of stunts, choreographed fight scenes and adrenaline pumping action sequences is so over the top and so off the charts it's a testament to Rittikrai's fight team's talent and threshold for pain.
One must dismiss the bad acting, the ridiculous cartooney plot and bodily harm logic when it comes to BKO. Like porn, these are only set ups to get to the money shot. And the money shots come shooting faster, harder and longer than anything I've ever see come out. (Sorry the puns write themselves).
BKO is an orgy and ballet of violence set to a soundtrack. You won't know the names of the characters or care if the bad guys get their comeuppance. Seriously, it's not important. As long as you were mesmerized by the punches, kicks, double kicks, double punches and the synchronized attacks, BKO has done it's job.
Rittkrai is a legend in Thai action cinema. The director of Born to Fight and fight coordinator for such classics as Ong Bak and Chocolate, he was the star of many action films in the 70s and 80s, and is famously a mentor to some of the top action superstars working today, including Tony Jaa (Ong Bak), Dan Chupong (Dynamite Warrior) and Jija Yanin (Chocolate). BKO features a range of martial art disciplines. A group of 'fight club' pals whose styles vary from Muay Thai and Capoeira to Kung Fu and Tai Chi must fight for their lives when one of their friends is kidnapped.
I was going to give a breakdown of each fight scenes but there are like 30 of them. In any case, the range of fighting styles is on display going from Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira and free running. But before we talk about the fights, let's get that pesky plot out of the way.
So basically a Thai stunt team wins a contest to go to Hollywood to work for an American businessman. But in reality it's all a ploy to have the evil stunt team try to kick their ass. In between this crazy Wile E. Coyote plot is a group of gamblers led by the evil American business dude who are betting on who wins each fight.
And that's not all folks. We've got some kooky love triangle, twists and betrayals and a boat load of revenge themes that rear their ugly heads as this crazy movie chugs along. The movie has tons of comedy in it to which somehow feels screwbally and probably is designed for a Thai audience. Oh and there is indeed an appearance from a lady boy fighter.
But at the end of the day, you're here to see the sex....err I mean action scenes. And there are plenty of em. Taking place in an abandoned warehouse that seems to go on for like freakin forever, you've got gangbangs, double teams and threesomes. Seriously, I'm talking about the action.
There is a killer fight scene in a caged off area that's pure awesomeness with aerial kicks I've never seen before. A boy lady?!? takes on one of our good guys ending in a slo mo water fighting sequence. We also get a masked man with an ax sustain high levels of Ryu and Ken kicking ending in a flaming ax.
And get this! They added a Fast and Furious killer car to the mix as our heroes dodge being run over. In all of this somehow our hero Pom or Pod, I forget his name has to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend.
Even more fighting with metal bars, a sequence of free running (aka parkour) and our hero battling his arch nemesis tops it all off. And at some point, you're going "That's it right?" They can't possibly top that Matrix like finishing move can they?
But they keep going.
The beauty of these action sequences is that they've taken tons of hard work to get it right. I'm pretty sure everything filmed was of the non CGI variety (fuck you Hollywood...this is how fight scenes are done). I applaud our heroes and their level of talent but I also have to applaud the henchmen getting their ass kicked. It's teamwork that makes all these fight sequences work. Sure the masked evil stunt team is waiting to get kicked but their absorbing the most damage. The editing that also has to be done was pretty solid. But to see that the timing has to be just right and the punches and kicks have to be measured carefully is quite a sight. This is what makes a Rittikrai movie legendary.
And they did keep going. The ending is an orgy and I seriously mean orgy of violence. Fights are taking place all over the warehouse and eventually we even get some gun play. A sequence below a moving truck is insanely awesome as is a juxtaposed fight scene between 2 of our other heroes versus motorcycle bad guys.
BKO: Bangkok Knockout is not going to win best acting awards but it wins the award I'm about to make up. The Jaded Viewer Action WTF holy kick orgy of violence Award for 2011 goes to BKO. If Ong Bak 2 and 3 have left you feeling like Tony Jaa has lost his touch, BKO will make it all better.
Action porn is back and it's better than ever.
Not so much
It's action porn, not real porn
Large metal mask wearing flaming ax guy
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
NYAFF 2011 film festival opens on 7/1. I've created a list of films to check out at this year's festival. BKO: Bangkok Knockout screens on July 2nd at 12:15 pm and also has a showing on July 9th at midnight.
Head over to the official site for more info.
I'm going to give this 3 spinkicks. The bad acting, ridiculous plot and my biggest gripe.....there were no outtakes at the end! I always look forward to seeing the outtakes as I appreciate what the stunt team goes through.
Check out the trailer.