Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jong-arng Payong (Thailand, 1971)

Jong-arng Payong is a classic Thai action film starring Sombat Methanee, Suthisa Pattanuch and Lee Ling Ling. It's your basic martial arts revenge tale about a group of kids who witness the slaughter of their parents at the hands of a gang of bandits and grow up to wreak bloody vengeance with their finely honed fighting and swordsmanship skills. The film features a lot of long scenes of spoken exposition, which can make for some dull viewing for non Thai speakers like myself. Also, as with many low budget martial arts films of the period from Hong Kong and Taiwan, a lot of its action scenes take place in nondescript open fields and forests, and the film definitely lacks the visual pop that I've come to expect from watching so many Thai films from the sixties. Still, when the action comes, it's gratifyingly feverish and insane, depending a lot on the use of the old just-out-of-frame trampoline and a surprising amount of really silly gore. Though I wouldn't recommend the film, it didn't scare me off of exploring further into these type of Thai films--and I have to admit that I enjoyed the scenes where people's arms kept flapping around after they'd been lopped off.

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