BY: JOHN M JERVA
Another year has hit the road and bid a fond farewell but this time it’s rather special as it is the end of the decade and with that we have ushered in 2020 and with it hopefully another 10 years of action fueled Entertainment. The past 10 years have definitely served up some of the best the genre has to offer and with it we saw the rise of many independent action films that rose above the rest and were even more well received the the bigger budgeted flicks. We also got shot after shot of Asian adrenalized mayhem and we were treated with numerous entries like The Raid and of course, the Ip Man franchise.
I am here to tell you about a lesser known action property that hit out of Thailand circa 2010 which kickstarted the decade off with a collective bang. This film is director Panna Rittikrai’s BKO: Bangkok Knockout. Now Panna is famous for bringing Tony Jaa into the spotlight with the film Ong Bak and it’s sequels and here he used lesser known actors who were all the real deal when it came to stunts and on screen fighting. The film shouldn’t be judged by its actions because on that note, it’s pretty forgettable but here and with a film like this, it’s all about the action and boy is it ever insane. It’s one of those movies where you wonder how no one was killed during the making of it and I’m sure there were a lot of bumps and bruises along the way.
The plot is forgettable too but it does deal with a group of friends who share a collective fight club and all who are members are experts in various disciplines such as Muay Thai, Capoeira, Kung Fu and Tai Chi. They are invited to Hollywood for a special project and when they arrive they find that it’s all fake and they are forced to fight for their lives while sadistic wealthy socialites bet in the outcome. Yep, I told you, it’s been done before but here the action and extreme stunts trump all the negatives and if you’re looking for your next action fix then look no further.
The stunts are insanely dangerous and to bare witness to all the different fighting disciplines going head to head makes it worth the price of admission alone. The beginning is a little painful to get through but once the action revs up, you better buckle up because you’ll want to watch the fevers pitched scenes again and again. This is throw of film where the environment serves as an opponents as much as the humans and everything but the kitchen sink was used to beat the crap out of everyone.
Rittikrai is one of those rare action maestros who knows how to shoot over the top action sequences and he knows what the audience wants and asks his cast to give it to them in blood, sweat and tears… and broken bones of course. Just when you think the action can’t outdo itself, he delivers yet another bone crunching fight scene that will make you sweat from just watching it.
Make no mistake, this film is for the action loving crowd alone and anyone else just wouldn’t understand but for the action set pieces alone this qualifies it for one of the best the Asian action genre had to offer. If you have the chance watch it and truly appreciate what hear actors went through to bring it to you. It may not have Tony Jaa in it but these other experts rise to the occasion and dish it out until they have nothing left. A rare Action-Flix Approved entry in the genre that has given us so much pleasure throughout the years. Job well done.
Check out the film when you can and peep at the trailer and a fight scene below to see what I’m talking about!