Broken Sword Hero (Thong Dee Fun Khao) (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A young fighter goes on a quest to learn as much as he can to perfect his fighting skills following a hard loss.  He travels his province in search of many masters to learn from and makes friends along the way.

Written by Suwan Takongkaew and Preayaporn Boonpa and directed by Bin Bunluerit, Broken Sword Hero is an action film with a quest at it center and a philosophical angle to how it approaches some of the fights and the learning the lead does during his travels.  The way this is approached is interesting here but ultimately feels a bit long.  The story around the fights makes this a film about more than just the fights, but also about the different techniques and the human element.  Unfortunately, the film feels a bit uneven between the fighting being very strong and entertaining and the story parts feeling a bit slow and a lot less entertaining.  This leads to the whole of the film feeling a touch long with some pacing issues.

The cast here is decent with lead actor and Muay Thai fighter Buakaw Banchamek taking the forefront of the story and the fights.  His performance is good in terms of acting, but his fighting is superb.  He starts off holding back as his character learns and builds up his capacities and shows more and more of what he can do.  His fighting skills are fantastic and bring the film up from its issues and make it a must see.  His presence is the main attraction here and the main interest in terms of the fights.  The film does have some interest in terms of the learning about different fighting styles and a little in the story.  However, the fights are the central focus point and are the most satisfying part of the film.

These fights as well as the rest of the film are shot well, showing everything in an easy to watch fashion.  The film also shows Thailand beautifully, with great shots of the country side as the lead and his friends travel and see more than one village.  The attention to details in those villages, in how they are shot, and in how the fights are shot as well shows that the filmmakers wanted to elevate the fight film from being just that and becoming a more personal film.  This works through the images and the story, as well as how it’s all edited.

Broken Sword Hero is a good film for the fights with plenty story and philosophy in-between them, however the pacing feels a bit off with some parts feeling a touch long and not in line with the rest of the film.  The performances are good, with star Buakaw Banchamek truly shining here with his fighting skills and how he approaches his character.  The film as a whole is decently entertaining but could have used a bit of better pacing to make it a stellar watch.

Fantasia International Film Festival ran from July 13th to August 2nd.