Before a press screening of Transformers last week, I joked that if Lucy Liu and Michael Peña had been cast as machines in the film, their exteriors would have been painted yellow and brown, respectively. You have to crack wise like this before watching a Michael Bay movie or the man’s unchecked misogyny and racism becomes too difficult to withstand. Nothing—not even multiple viewings of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End—can prepare anyone for the almost complete and total incoherence of Transformers, but there is one upside to Bay’s latest stink bomb: it makes Dynamite Warrior seem almost articulate by comparison. Director Chalerm Wongpim, whose only worthy credit to date was operating the camera on the set of The Protector, takes a bite out of Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior and Kung Fu Hustle and spits out a superfluous mess of schlocky supernaturalism, uninspired East-meets-West adventure, insipid backstory, and random feats of dexterous human might. Unlike Kung Fu Hustle, even Tears of the Black Tiger, the setting and lone-hero mythos the film borrows from American history and cinematic tradition is never commented upon, thus becoming a distancing device of the most useless kind. Exuding zero po-mo pizzazz, Dynamite Warrior doesn’t so much recall the kickass beatdowns from Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior as it does any fight sequence from The Bionic Woman, except all the campy bionic noises are replaced with tired whooshing sounds and bone-crunching sound effects. The same delayed adolescence that responds to Transformers may get a kick out of the main character’s ability to travel across long distances on dynamite sticks ignited by his spark-producing fingers, or the idea of menstrual blood being used as a form of fuel. Everyone else, though, will recognize that Dynamite Warrior runs on the same brand of empty.
- Magnolia Pictures
- 103 min
- Chalerm Wongpim
- Yuthapong Pirayuthapon, Chalerm Wongpim
- Dan Chupong, Puttipong Sriwat, Panna Rittikrai, Samart Tipthamai, Kanyapak Suwannakoot, Somdej Keawlue, Ampol Rattanawong, Wichai Promchan, Namphon Pakdee, Pantipa Rachoo
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: