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Opapatika

 

Sorradithep Supachanya / 29 October 2007

  ©thaicinema.org
   
 


A demon with an unquenchable thirst for immortality. His sharpshooting nemesis with a wounded past. A mindreading servant who gradually questions loyalty. And a beautiful stranger who floats through all subplots to dispense her Buddhist philosophy. With these elements, Thanakorn Pongsuwans Opapatika has so much potential to be an intelligent, multilayered, and fast-paced action fantasy that can proudly match the Hollywoods The X-Men, Heroes TV series, or even The Matrix. Instead, the movie disastrously loses it way with unnecessary prolonged and gory action sequences, a dreadfully confusing plot, and tragically one-dimensional characters, all of which neither lead to nor support the seemingly out-of-placed message so prominently captioned in the conclusion scene.

As briefly explained in the opening scene, an opapatika is a non-human creature reborn (and instantly matured) to repay the sin of suicide, which is the way for humans to become opapatika. However, everything else thereafter fails to show that these opapatika are in fact being punished. Instead, they have supernatural powers (e.g., immortality, mind reading, shape shifting, sharpshooting, etc.) and seem to enjoy ending fragile and innocent humans lives at will, without remorse, and without punishments. The audience may find it a little hard to believe that being human is really considered a gift.


Moreover, if opapatika are reborn to be punished for past sin, I fail to understand why Sadok (Nirut Sirichanya), an aging opapatika who believes that eating the hearts of others of his kind would give him immortality, would hunt down other opapatika to attain an eternal life of damnation. But he does so anyway and he recruits mindreading Techit (Leo Putt) to locate the whereabouts of other opapatika.

And so the chase begins, but the action sequences drag on and on and add nothing to the plot because the opapatika keep escaping capture. It only takes a child to see why: the fights are seriously lopsided with a mind reader and a human bounty hunter against a combined force of an immortal, a magic-eyed sharpshooter, a light-speed runner, and a super strong monster. No wonder Sadok gets impatient.

 

But the excessive action is trumped by even more excessive plot holes and logics gaps. Techit inexplicably deflects from Sadok in the second half of the movie. The sharpshooter beats up the immortal in one scene for no clear reasons. The entire cast convenes at a ramshackle houserandomly without explanation not once but twice. And the role of the beautiful stranger Pran (Khemapsorn Sherry Sirisukka), which cleverly comes across as a voice of reason or a manifestation of a haunted past for much of the plot, suddenly disintegrates when the climax reveals her bizarre identity. Worst of all, the movie takes an easy exit and simply ends without any fanfare.

Judging from its closing caption, Opapatika wants to deliver the message that suicide is not an easy way out but a great sin with dire consequences. But this message fails to come across when the movie devotes 90% of its screen time to empty action and posing scenes for the cast of former teenage heartthrobs rather than to the background stories and the inner pains and regrets of the main characters leading up to their suicides. With a disjointed plot, mishandled theme, and generic characterization, Opapatika inevitably joins a long list of big budgeted, all-star cast, high potential Thai movies gone awry.

   
  ©thaicinema.org
 

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