JeeJa Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabunjong
Colour 92 mins
Another martial arts film from the director of the seminal "Ong Bak". This time instead of Tony Jaa we have JeeJa Yanin playing an autistic girl trying to raise money to treat her mother's cancer. As the money raising involves collecting underworld debts she has to be persuasive with her hands, elbows, knees, etc.
JeeJa Yanin is for me as eye opening as Tony Jaa was in "Ong Bak". The martial arts are more of a dance than in "Ong Bak", but martial arts films have been compared to Fred Astaire dance movies (with a lot of justification.) As in "Ong Bak" the accent is on realism, no stunt doubles, no wirework - the outtakes show how much everyone put into the film. The action is varied, evisceral, and hypnotic.
As in "Ong Bak" there are unexpected moments of cinema. The moment in the ice factory where JeeJa's character erupts into action is well done. The plot is simple, the baddies get bashed, one couldn't accuse the film of the same realism there as with the action. Influences bleed through from other films (JeeJa's character learns from watching "Ong Bak" on the TV.) The depiction of autism some will find disagreeable. But taken as an actioner this is a great watch.