สนับสนุนโดย สำนักงานศิลปวัฒนธรรมร่วมสมัย กระทรวงวัฒนธรรม Supported by Office of Contemporary Art And Culture ,Ministry Of Culture

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Mercury Man : A Super-hero Desperately in Need of Saving
 

Sorradithep Supachanya

 

16 August 2006

   
 

It is an ambitious goal from a daring group of filmmakers: to place a uniquely Thai super-hero among the league of popular American and Japanese creations, and to do it without a cult following of an existing comic book version. Sadly, the task proves too Herculean and Bandit Thongdees Mercury Man is a confused, messy, and uninspiring movie that needs its own resuscitation.

Mercury Man tells a story about a hot-tempered firefighter named Chan (Wasan Kantaoo), who is called to put down fires at a Bangkok prison but is instead injured during a prison robbery and escape. Luckily, the object which is used to stab Chan is a mysterious iron object that, according to Thai legends, gives the owner superhuman strength and invulnerability. Chan becomes the Mercury Man and must use his newfound powers to stop a rogue group trying to destroy a Middle East-bound U.S. ship anchored on Thai waters and simultaneously bomb Bangkok .

The plot moves along like a car on a very bumpy road. It never explains why an American ship en route to the Middle East would take a detour to a Thai port; why the terrorist cell would want to attack Thailand if, according to its own words, it could easily pass through the Kingdoms lax immigration; and why the militants, who are fluent in Thai, choose to speak to each other in English (and speak Thai to a Cambodian). The audience may also want to know how a fashion designer or a physicist would have mastered the arts of Muay Thai and how Chan is taken to an undisclosed temple after his prison injury to meet a mysterious Nepali guardian of the iron object, who returns him to his house and later reappears in his room.

Mercury Man also suffers from a serious case of writers block. Panna Rittikai seems to reuse some of his fight choreography from Ong Bak and Tom-Yum-Goong and the Mercury Man himself at times looks like Tony Jaa in funny costumes. Arina (Methanee Kingpayom), one of the militants, reminds me of the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia. And most unforgiving of all, how unoriginal is a character named Usama who has a vendetta against America ?

Acting is weak alike for the old faces like long-time model Methanee Lukked Kingpayom as Arina or singer Anon Pu Blackhead Saisaengjan as Usama, and the new faces like Wasan Kantaoo as Chan or Jinawipa Kongbua as Punima.



The least bit of excitement may be a chance to see Parinya Nong Toom Charoenphon, the transgender Muay Thai boxer whose life was featured in Ekachai Uekrongthams The Beautiful Boxer, playing the heros kickboxing friend.

Of course, the movie is not entirely flawed. It has the best visual effect of any Thai movie and its excessive actions, bullets, and explosions would satisfy action movie fans.

What Mercury Man needs is a stronger and clearer theme of inner conflicts and human emotions and its current theme of Buddhist philosophy must be strengthened and repeated throughout the movie. Look at Superman or Spider-Man. They have self-doubt and experience the pain of love, and thus become as humans as any of us. The Mercury Man, however, is empty and heartless. A movie with a dull super-hero is doomed from the beginning.

 

 

 

 

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