Chocolate

"Good"

Chocolate Review


Those of us who fondly remember Tony Jaa kicking serious ass all across Bangkok in Prachya Pinkaew's Ong Bak were looking forward to seeing another kinetic and gritty martial arts kickfest from director Prachya Pinkaew, and now Piankaew delivers Chocolate. The gimmick this time around: the ass-kicker is a girl! And not just any girl. An autistic girl!

It's been a tough life for Zen (JeeJa Yanin), the daughter of a former Bangkok lady of easy virtue named Zin (Ammara Siripong) and a Japanese gangster father named Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) who passed through just long enough to give the women a lifetime's worth of underworld enemies.

As years have passed, Zen has become autistic but also a savant in one particular area: She can pick up the unique fighting moves of anyone she watches. Muy thai boxers, martial arts champions, Nintendo games... whatever she sees she can replicate, and this makes her a lethal weapon.

When Zin falls ill with cancer, she needs money for chemotherapy, and Zen sets out to collect old gangland debts owed to her mother, even though she is unable to say much more to the deadbeat borrowers than "Mom's money! Mom's money!" When they don't respond, she lets her feet and her fists do the talking.

This shaky premise lets Pinkaew stage elaborate and eye-popping smackdowns in a half dozen fun locations, from a warehouse full of forklifts and cardboard boxes to a bloody abattoir where the workers all wield cleavers and machetes. Zen has little trouble making mincemeat of literally hundreds of foes as the movie races along, none more fascinating than one champion fighter who is, for lack of a better word, spastic and fights like he's having a grand mal seizure. Zen quickly apes his technique and finishes him off. (Note to Hollywood: Give this guy a franchise. He's just too cool.)

The indestructible Zen rages on and on, finishing one epic battle by leaping (along with her opponents) on a series of signs hanging from the side of a building. She may not get everything she wants in the end, but there's no doubt that the Bangkok underworld is successfully depopulated by her hand... and foot.

As Zen, JeeJa Yanin is a real find, an actress by trade who worked for close to two years to perfect her moves. As in Ong Bak, the fights are filmed without wires or special effects, and the behind-the-scenes footage on the DVD shows pretty much everyone clutching ice packs to their faces. Ultimately there isn't much of a movie here, just a series of great-looking and expertly filmed showdowns that are worth the price of a rental. Don't feel guilty about fast forwarding through everything else.

Vanilla.



Chocolate

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 6th February 2008

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Anantha Visions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Panna Rittikari,

Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran as Shyam Balagopal, Jayasurya as Renjith, Samvrutha Sunil as Nandana, Roma Asrani as Ann, Remya Nambeesan as Sussana, Saiju Kurup as Manuel Abraham, Lalu Alex as Mathews, Rajan P Dev as Bahuleyan, Salim Kumar as Pappan

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