There have been many who were in contention to be the next “Tony Jaa” and D.Y. Sao puts his name in the ring in this supernatural action film from the recently departed Pearry Teo.
An Voaen is a vagabond who impresses with his fighting skills. He is given a job as a night watchman in a desolate hospital where a homeless population lives. Rumors have spread that at night, children at the hospital have been kidnapped by mysterious forces. At first, An is skeptical unless he learns the truth and discovers a malevolent force known as Mephisto has been gathering a crew to do the dirty work and soon enough, despite his efforts, An is killed by the group.
It is then a mysterious force known as Hanuman, the Monkey God, arrives and makes an offer to An. He will help him get revenge in exchange for his soul. An reluctantly agrees and with his newfound powers, takes down Mephisto’s gang one by one. However, it comes at the price of his soul slowly rising towards Hanuman. The gang, known as the Four Horsemen, soon will fall prey to the powerful Death God Hanuman and its host, An Voaen.
Part-supernatural horror film, part-homage to Ong-Bak, the late Pearry Teo delved into meshing his two favorite genres for one of his final films. Much like the 2003 hit Thai film that swept the world, the film’s story is a bit on the “meh” side, but it is both the action sequences and special effects that make this a fun and wild film in the long run.
D.Y. Sao, who appeared in Teo’s 2021 action film Fast Vengeance (which marked the final film of rap legend DMX), takes on the lead role of An Voaen, the eventual titular “Shadow Master”. While he has showcased some comic and acting chops in his YouTube shorts with Martial Club, Sao comes off a bit bland for the first half of the film, showing no emotion. However, he makes up for it once he is killed and reborn from the Death God Hanuman, played in physical form by the director himself with Dean Scheske providing the voice.
There are some pretty good performances from the supporting cast, notably Luciana Faulhaber as Janett, a single mom to a disabled youngster who bonds with An; and Anna Harr, whose Devitt comes off as a teen version of DC icon Harley Quinn, complete with baseball bat and all. Speaking of Martial Club, Brian Le comes in as one of the Four Horseman alongside his compadre Daniel Mah. Brian, D.Y., and Andy Le were responsible for the film’s action, and we get to see Sao pull some impressive Jaa moves meshed with his own style and his fight against Brian Le is an amazing highlight that lasts five minutes and will make you want to watch it over and over and over again…the fight itself.
Shadow Master is reminiscent of the original Ong-Bak as it pertains to a meh story, but emphasizes on its action and SFX as the late Pearry Teo unleashes his love of both horror and action with this film. D.Y. Sao could be on his way to become the next big thing once he proves himself as a viable actor and not just on his skills.
WFG RATING: B-
Saban Films presents a Rock Solid Productions I film in association with Compound B and White Snake Golden Dragon. Director: Pearry Teo. Producers: Chaya Supannarat. Writer: Pearry Teo. Cinematography: Nate Spicer. Editing: Pearry Teo.
Cast: D.Y. Sao, Luciana Faulhaber, Layton Mathews, Brian Le, Craig Ng, Anna Harr, Dominique Swain, Daniel Mah, Eric Gay. Jr.
This film is fantastic. D.Y. actually uploaded an extended clip of his fight finale with Brian on YouTube. You almost wish Pearry kept the whole thing in the film if only just for the fun of seeing what concepts were intended on the spot per the film’s progression.