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Yaowarat (THAI 2003)

Director : Namchoke Daengput
Cast : Shahkrit Yamnarm, Darawan Wilaingam, Suwannaparp, Suthida Harnwisej, Sattawat Dullayawijitt, Aadchara Luengsawat

In this explosive action thriller from Thailand set in Bangkok’s sizzling Yaowarat Chinatown district, the precarious truce between two mafia gangs. Yaowarat and Pahurad ended in violent gunfights when Kao, one of Pahurad’s hit man killed a Yaowarat member. In retaliation, Yaowarat enlists the help of Saleng, the best hit man in the business, to take Kao out.

by Edward Tang

Hmm. Thailand gets another release via Tai Seng who usually bare bones it up for a decent film. On the cover is a guy holding two pistols ala God of Guns John Woo. I wonder if that interested me? Of course it did. “Yaowarat” tries to be a cool film and edgy, starting off with a gangster boss raping the shit out of one of his girls and follows with one boring film filled with nothing in between. There were some attempts at action, but they looked completely stupid. Take this out for example, one guy has one pistol, against four other guys with pistols. Now, how does this one guy kill two of them and still survive? The action-thriller promised in the synopsis is never really met, and what we are left with is something that resembles a gangster-drama-romance type story. So in the long run, the film isn’t that bad and for the most part I got enough out of it, but the editing and the annoying voice-overs left me wanting to go home.

The synopsis on the DVD cover is basically wrong, so I’ll try to explain it here. We are met in the beginning with Boss Tang raping his girl, who dies. This will be important later in the show. So anyways we learn that the two gangs in Yaowarat are friendly, both of them respect the hell out of each other. We learn of two men in particular, Saleng and Kao, both hitmen from different gangs. Saleng is an orphan who Boss Tang took in and kind of made as a son. Saleng has been pouring clam chowder on this hooker, which seems to have developed in some kind of relationship. Kao is a loud mouthed assassin who wins during a big night of gambling in the rival gangs casino. The next day, he comes to gamble and isn’t allowed back into the VIP room where he won previously. This angers the shit out of him and he opens fire on the other gang and kills a bunch of them. This confrontation pisses off both gangs and they eventually split in the process. So Kao lives but is not able to go back to the district in which he killed the Boss Tang gets a new girl, whom I forget but will call Crabs for the sake of this. Saleng gets a boner for Crabs and they kill the boss (The Boss walked in and saw them hugging and thought they were doing the dick disco). So as they are on the run, they hire Dao to track his ass down which eventually happens. As they meet, Dao and his boys shoots down Saleng and his eventually dies when Crabs executes both of them with one bullet. Dao then gets killed by both of the gangs, whom have came back together and wanted him not to cause any trouble. Then we end with some explanation on how hopefully peace will return to this place. Also, if anybody sees this film, tell me if the beginning credits don’t remind you of a mixture between Ichi the Killer and Bangkok Dangerous.

Whew! I’m sure you’re already tired of this film, as you will be if you actually watch this boring film. Yes, it’s truly boring, there are a few scenes in which just show people sitting there and eating. The story is very sketchy and moves in a real odd pace. This in process with the endless stream of backstories and tries to develop the character. First, we’d develop Saleng’s character a little bit, okay he’s an orphan who was raised by a garbage man. Then we’d go toward Dao’s character, okay he saved a few guys from getting the shit kicked out of them. Then two more stories on the hooker and Crabs, and by then it just gets plain old. I’d describe the film as a few stories, where they focus on one character’s journey for a bit then go onto another. The film really lacked interesting characters more than anything, they were the stereotyped ones, the quiet hitman who has a heart of gold followed by the cocky hitman who cheats and lies his way up to the top. I couldn’t get into the flow and I was bored most of this story, which is not a good thing. (Though, there was enough nudity to keep my interests peaked.) The ending kind of was trying to preach to the people “One day, will we be peaceful?” Then the narrator basically tells us that the story really didn’t matter and is forgotten, kind of like this film in the long run! The story was basically ripping off any other gangster film “If you become a gangster, you’ll die and be forgotten about!”

Being an “action” film, the action tried to be cool like John Woo’s flicks, doubled pistoled and fueled with superhero-like characters. Okay here’s the point, the main characters DID get shot in this film, countless times I might add. But one guy in particular got shot about 7-8 times and still could walk around at the end. They got shot, but still really didn’t feel it. The action scenes were sloppy as hell, a bunch of close-up fire which never really entertained and for some reason, 15 guys can’t hit four at a close range. But they weren’t that bad in all truth, there was a cool scene that involved two idiot assassins trying to kill Saleng, but he takes both of them out while still taking one in the gut. The music was crappy as hell and annoyed the living hell out of me for the entire film. Also, why do people use the voice-over technique? The old guy speaking was completely boring and while the characters on the screen were talking, his voice would cut in and describe what was going on. Like I couldn’t understand this crappy story by myself? This voice-over also disturbed the subtitles, as he would talk, they would get sped up or just not appear at all.

The actors in this film were truly boring if I had ever seen them. The main character Saleng was boring as hell. Even during the sex scenes, the guy had no personality and nothing able to get us his side. Although he sucked, Dao was funny as hell and had one of the better laughs I have heard in a while. His character was entertaining and didn’t give a fuck about anything. Then we had the two girls, both of whom were beautiful but still seemed to be sticks in the mud. Boss Tang raping in the beginning was a little harsh, but as it happened about 15 times throughout the film, it got to be almost comical. Oh yeah, if anybody knows who the narrator is, kick him in his boring ass.

So what is my final verdict on it? I didn’t hate the film and kind of enjoyed it. That kind of is based on some of the characters and moments rather than on the story itself. But this film does include one of the more painful deaths in recent memory. I’m sure it has been done before but the thought of losing my balls in that way just made me cringe. It is probably worth a rental for those out there who want to further there Thai knowledge of films, and for one view it’s worth it. Other than that, I’d avoid the rental unless you REALLY need to see shit in action.

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 3/5
Overall : 2/5

Notable Scenes
- Boss Tang’s castration and death

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Yaowarat

Comments (One comment)

Wow, I can’t believe I read your really long and boring comment on this film. I really think you like the film rather than hating it. Otherwise you would write a whole bible about it.

Sareth / November 19th, 2010, 2:59 pm

What do you think?