REVIEW: Vengeance of an Assassin (2014)

vengeanceofanassassin

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2014, Sahamongkol Film International

Director:
Panna Rittikrai
Producer:
Somsak Techaratanaprasert
Writer:
Panna Rittikrai
Cinematography:
Nattawut Kittikhun

Cast:
Dan Chupong (Thee)
Nathawut Boonrubsap (Than)
Ping Lumpraploeng (Uncle)
Nisachon Tuamsungnoen (Ploy)
Ooi Teuk Huat (Si Foo)
Kessarin Ektawakul (Joy)
Chatchapol Kulsiniwootichai (Pod)
Kowit Wattanakul (Chai)

For his final film, Thai stunt master Panna Rittikrai pulls out all stops and goes back to basics and combines with modern technology in this revenge action thriller.

Thee is a young man who has been looking for his parents’ killer for a while now. Living with his uncle and younger brother Than, Thee finds a clue that leads him to a monk who knew his folks. However, he finds a well-dressed man who offers Thee a chance to become an assassin. Using this as an opportunity to find his parents’ murderer, Thee decides to become an assassin.

Meanwhile, Than finds old videos of his parents using different martial arts techniques and begins to train himself in martial arts and survival much to the chagrin of his uncle. When Thee is hired to kill a politician’s daughter, Ploy, he decides to go on the lam with his target instead of killing her. This sets a series of events in which Thee, Than, and Uncle must all get involved along with Ploy and Ploy’s family doctor and friend Si Foo and stop the assassin faction once and for all.

Stunt master legend Panna Rittikrai finished this film a few months before his untimely death in July 2014 of liver failure at the age of 53. For this swan song, with longtime protege Tony Jaa on his way to both Hong Kong and Hollywood, Panna recruited Born to Fight star Dan Chupong and Power Kids lead Nathawut Boonrubsap to play the brothers Thee and Than. The duo give it their all both acting and action wise in the film as they title mainly refers to Chupong’s character but Boonrubsap joins in as Than as he self-trains himself to help big brother get revenge.

Newcomer Nisachon Tuamsungnoen makes a pretty good debut as the target Ploy while comedian Ping Lumpraploeng brings a more dramatic performance as the brothers’ uncle, who drinks when he is not working. Taekwondo champion Kessarin Ektawakul gives a short but sweet venomous performance as a female assassin who engages in a pivotal fight against Chupong before her boyfriend, played by another Taekwondo champion turned Panna stunt team member Chatchapol Kulsiniwootichai, takes over as the big boss’ son Pod (a nod to his character in the stuntfest that is Bangkok Knockout).

While Panna steps behind the director’s chair, he enlisted trust to members of his stunt team to choreograph the amazing action sequences that can only be done in a Panna Rittikrai film. Leading the team as action supervisor is Kawee Sirikahnerut with Thana Srisuke, Banlu Srisaeng, and co-star Ooi Teuk Huat as choreographers. The opening scene, a dream scene of the most extreme game of indoor soccer imaginable shows Chupong and Boonrubsap in top form as stuntmen are kicked and thrown into fire and doused with water everywhere. Chupong shows he is truly at the top of his game as he pulls off his trademark moves while Boonrubsap pulls off some impressive moves himself. The highlight is a train fight in which the background and finale of said sequence is truly CGI but still gives the cast a chance to show off some impressive stuntwork.

Vengeance of an Assassin is a fitting swan song for the late Panna Rittikrai. While the plot is virtually like every assassin-revenge film made, as always the action proves to be extremely impressive with Dan Chupong and Nathawut Boonrubsap at the top of their game. Definitely worth a rental or for hardcore Rittikrai fans, a purchase.

WFG RATING: A-

DVD/BLU-RAY

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