Dynamite Warrior (2006)

The clear indicator that this is simply the lamest of the exports so far is the first twenty minutes where director Chalerm Wongpim asks us to enjoy the realism of the epic battle scenes, while also forcing us to swallow a scene of our hero Siang riding a large rocket in the air. He then takes part in one of the most boring fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Most notable is the choreography which is slow and clunky, while most of the scenes are so poorly edited that they look like rehearsals for actual scenes we’ll never get to watch. It’s the first time I’ve seen a flying knee kick and not gasp in amazement.

Set in 1890s Siam, Siang (Dan Chupong) is a young Muay Thai warrior and rocketry expert who steals back water buffalo taken from poor Isan farmers by cattle raiders. He is also searching for a man with a tattoo who killed his parents. There’s also the contrived plot that follows the same structure we’ve seen a thousand times in revenge westerns. There’s also a masked warrior dressed in farmer’s clothing, and a mask that looks like a picnic table cloth, who tosses dynamite and assorted explosives at villains while demonstrating his flair for knees to the face.

In one goofy scene, our masked man stands with his knee up threatening a circle of villains for a good two minutes. For this genre I’ve seen much worse, but “Dynamite Warrior” expects too much of its audience and ends up diving near the sheer abysmal pits of lesser exports. Director Wongpim’s film is just all over the place; it’s a messy, often abysmal mixed bag even hardcore action fans will have trouble swallowing. Wongpim depicts realism and pure silly fantasy, strives for comedy but wants sympathy for our characters. He aspires for originality when also blatantly unfolding a contrived plot, and continues this stream of unsteady moods and themes for almost two hours.

I was very inclined to adjust my expectations and think of it in the silliness scale of a Stephen Chow action comedy where our heroes and villains are cartoon characters, but I found myself rolling my eyes instead of laughing. “Dynamite Warrior” has a clear purpose for the US market, but it’s far from one of the stronger Asian imports out there.