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The Kick - a Knock Out Fun
  By Sorradithep Supachanya / 23 December 2011
 

 


 

It was bound to happen sooner or laterthe two hottest waves of popular Asian cultures joining forces to conquer the world. One is Korean sport, cuisine, and music. The other is Thai martial arts cinema. What is unexpected, however, is that the result is a surprisingly safe and fun film for all ages and nationalities.

The Kick is directed by Thailands Prachya Pinkaew with assistance from Panna Rittikrai on the fight choreography, the duo behind the Ong Bak, Tom-Yum-Goong, and Chocolate phenomenon. But unlike their earlier works, which feature much blood and gore, The Kick revolves around misadventures of a Korean Tae Kwan Do family, with humor supplanting violence.

But dont get me wrong. Being bloodless and humorous doesnt mean the fights are not entertaining. Take Jackie Chan, for example.

In fact, action scenes are frequent and electrifying. We see characters fighting on Bangkoks sky train station, a skyscrapers glass rooftop, and elephants backs. One character fights in the kitchen drumming the kitchenware to the percussion beats. Another character dances to a K-Pop song while spin-kicking the villains. There are also car chases, dangerous animals, knife fights, and a time bomb added into the mix.

But the best scene takes place in a hangar where a protagonist fights a horde of villains while trying to evade the fast-spinning ceiling fans. This is one of Pannas most creative stunts.

 

 

Like most other martial arts flicks, the plot is only a pretext to the action scenes. Our protagonists are a Korean family living in Thailand. The father (Cho Jae-hyun) opens a Tae Kwan Do academy in Bangkok. The mother (Yea Ji-won) owns a Korean restaurant. With their three children (Na Tae-joo, Kim Kyeong-suk, and Thanathep Sucharitchan), they also perform Tae Kwan Do shows on the side. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the family is dragged into a transnational theft of a prized Thai dagger and they must use their martial arts skill to defeat the villains. Thai comedians Petchtai Mum Jokmok Wongkamlao and female martial star Jija Yanin (of Chocolate fame) join the cast as the family friends.

The Kick, the Thai-directed, Korean-starred martial arts flick, may be narratively weak, culturally sanitized, and laden with blatant tourism promotions. But it sure offers plenty of harmless fun and exhilarating fights, a deliberate result of leveraging the famous Korean slapstick comedy and the Thai director and fight choreographers action expertise. It is the best Thai-Korean co-production yet.

   

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