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DVD Review: Dynamite Warrior

The year is 1855 and the location is Thailand. Thailand has just entered into a treaty that brings them into the forefront of world trade. But farmers can’t keep up the production with their normal resources, so they need more buffalo brought into pull their plows. Buffalo traders are happy to oblige, but they’re being pursued by mysterious warrior who combines his martial arts skill with a use of rockets and explosives- and he’s out for revenge, looking for a trader who killed his mother and father. All the while, progress is making it’s way through, and one slick character known as both Lord Sirokorn and Lord Waeng (I’m gonna refer to him as Lord Waeng) is trying to sell tractors at an exorbitant price. Well, no one is buying, so Lord Waeng enlists a group of outlaws to start to steel all of the buffalo and force the farmers to buy from Lord Waeng. And eventually, all forces involved come together for a huge showdown…

And that’s the basic premise of Dynamite Warrior a highly, highly entertaining Thai film (my second Thai film this year, my first being the equally entertaining Tears of the Black Tiger) that pushes itself as “from the makers of Ong-Bak” and that may be true, but thematically, this owes way more to Stephen Chow and his movies Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle than anything else. While this might have it’s historical significance (and it certainly looks like it’s been taken very seriously as far as the visual look and the lifestyle portrayals), believe me, the movie itself plays as more a giant cartoon than anything else, and really I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think trying to treat this seriously would’ve resulted in a stuffier film, nowhere near as fun as this is.

I’ve read other reviews online that have talked about the acting here as being very bad, and then y’know I just think they’re missing the point of the film- I think it is supposed to be as broad as it is, Dan Chupong who plays the Dynamite Warrior in question is typically stoic and he plays the hero well, but it’s the rest of the cast that makes this fun, at least from a character standpoint, in particular with the actor who play Lord Waeng. But Chupong excels with the stunt work, and really that’s what everyone is here to see, and you’ll see some nice stuff and some pretty original stuff too, especially when combined with the rocket attacks.

Dynamite Warrior is presented in an anamorphic widescreen format and available in 5.1 sound in both Thai and English dubs. This also includes a couple of extras around the making of the film and the stunts, and they’re subtitled featurettes, figuring that they’ve been created for their native land and then translated for domestic release.

Like I said, I just thought this was a lot of fun to watch, and it certainly gets points with me with it’s milieu as well, this isn’t a period I know a lot about and while I wouldn’t say this is at all a totally historical piece, it is showing me something on screen that I’m not used to seeing. Have fun with this one.

By Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

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