Vengeance of an Assassin Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Well Go USA
Directed by Panna Rittikrai
Written by Panna Rittikrai and Wichit Wattananon
2014, Region A, 90 minutes, Not rated
Blu-ray released on April 7th, 2015
Nathawut Boonrubsub as Than
Dan Chupong as Thee
Ping Lumpraploeng as Uncle Norm
Nisachon Tuamsungnoen as Ploy
Ever since their parents were mysteriously killed many years ago, brothers Tham and Thee have been raised by their Uncle Norm. He refuses to reveal any information about how they died and the boys constantly snoop during his frequent drunken blackouts. When Thee is caught going through his uncle’s files, he is told he can no longer stay. Pushed into the outside world, Thee manages to track down some of his parents’ allies and is soon working as a contract assassin. Assigned to protect the beautiful Ploy, daughter of a wealthy politician, Thee is constantly testing his fighting skills as waves of violent thugs attempt to kidnap the girl. Before long, Tham is brought into the fray and Uncle Norm is beside himself since he had taken a vow to keep the boys out of danger. Trouble has a way of finding this family, however, and soon everyone will be forced to fight if they hope to put an end to all the violence.
Vengeance of an Assassin is the final film from recently-deceased director Panna Rittikrai (BKO: Bangkok Knockout), and it is a lot of fun. Never taking itself too seriously, the straightforward plot moves at a brisk pace, although the script is unnecessarily involved at times. Rittikrai is more interested with entertaining viewers than worrying about little things like physics, and movie goers are in for a real treat because of it. There are a lot of big moments in the picture and not everything is remotely possible, but it doesn’t matter because the man behind the camera is determined to give audiences everything he’s got.
The tone of this movie frequently changes and features several over-the-top action scenes, starting with an introductory soccer game that offers full-contact fighting. Many of the shootouts play like a video game, with the camera closely following our protagonist without showing his face. The fights are beautifully choreographed and well-executed, with many shot in a series of long uninterrupted takes. While there is plenty of bloodshed throughout the picture, the violence is mostly tame, lulling the audience into a popcorn movie vibe before suddenly pushing someone’s face through the blades of a motorized fan.
The script is a bit heavy-handed in exposition and stalls when it tries to deliver a deeper message about the importance of family. There are a lot of supporting characters here that do little to advance the plot and thankfully, Rittikrai knows what audiences are here to see and keeps the chitchat to a minimum. The film is at its best when it embraces the simplicity of pitting a few distinct-looking villains against our heroes in elaborate scenarios that raise the adrenaline bar one action set piece at a time. There are plenty of over-the-top moments in this movie, and they are consistently entertaining. Target audiences are not watching this flick for realism and are in turn rewarded with goofy spectacle. There are some moments where viewers will laugh at the ludicrous spectacle, but the content lends itself to cartoonish action and the director gleefully offers it up.
Video and Audio:
The picture is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is filled with plenty of detail and clarity. Colors are strong and flesh tones appear natural throughout. If pressed to single out a problem here, it is that things are occasionally too pristine and reveal the limits of some of the green-screen effects shots.
A DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix offers a lot of power to the frequent action scenes. All speakers get a workout and viewers will be very satisfied. A Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is also offered, but why would you? Honestly, the 5.1 is likely all you will ever require for a film like this.
Vengeance of an Assassin is a production from Thailand and English subtitles are provided for anyone in need.
The marketing for this film stresses that this is the beloved director’s final work, but sadly there are no special tributes to this recently-deceased artist.
The theatrical trailer is joined by a gallery of previews for assorted other titles now available on home video.
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