11th Oct2013

‘The Kick’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: JeeJa Yanin, Cho Jae Hyun, Phettai Wongkamlao, Ye Ji-won, Tae-joo Na | Written by Jong-suk Lee | Directed by Prachya Pinkaew

The-Kick-fight

The Kick has one hell of a pedigree. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who lensed to international hit Ong Bak, as well as the well-regarded Chocolate – whose star JeeJa Yanin is also in this – the movie features a wealth of Thai talent, including Cho Jae Hyun from The Isle and Phetthai Vongkumlao, who is one of Thailand’s biggest comedians.

But the real star is Tae-joo Na – in only his second ever film role – who shows the same type of martial arts skill that made Jackie Chan famous, mixing slapstick and fighting with consummate ease; and the scene in which he tries out to be a K-Pop star, blending dance with martial arts, are breathtaking.

The story is a little light – it essentially bad guys versus kung-fu family – but that doesn’t stop The Kick from being a lot, and I mean a LOT, of fun:

The Kris of Kings, a valuable and spiritual artifact, is returned to the Thai National Museum, generating interest from a ruthless underworld gang who attempt a daring theft of the national treasure. However the gang’s attempt to steal the coveted artifact is thwarted by the curious Tae Yang (Tae-joo Na) and his family and the gang vows to take revenge on those who dared to stand in their way…

Watching The Kick you can’t help but be reminded of Jackie Chan’s more comedic style of martial arts movie making – which is high praise indeed – as the film mixes slapstick, including a very Scooby Doo-esque scene at the Bangkok Zoo, martial arts and manic action to perfection. Hell, the film even features Chan-style outtakes, both funny and serious, alongside the end credits – and it looks like some of the guys working on the film really got hurt in the name of movie-making!

Reminiscent of the madcap, fast-paced 80s butt-kicking movies of Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Jackie Chan, the film is both a flashback to a bygone era of martial arts filmmaking and a showcase of the future stars of the genre. As it says on the cover of the UK DVD release of the movie, The Kick really does kick ass!

The Kick is out now on DVD from MVM.

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