Somtum (2008)

Discussion in 'Archive' started by llanes13, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. llanes13

    llanes13 Guest



    Somtum* the food* is a spicy treat. It's best shared with friends. You can all dip into the same plate of spicy* sweet and sour papaya salad with your forks* and daub up the juices with generous helpings of sticky rice.
    And Somtum* the movie* is a lot of fun* too. And* yes* you should see it with friends* and marvel at this action-packed* oftentimes silly* but also very sweet tale.
    Nathan Jones* the towering Australian strongman and former WWE wrestler* who's played a screaming* menacing madman in such films as Troy* Fearless and Tom Yum Goong* gets to play the face -- the good guy -- in Somtum. It must have been refreshing for him after being cast as the heel time after time.
    He's Barney Emerald* a happy-go-lucky bloke who's having a night out in Pattaya* where he's charmed by a pretty woman who keeps urging him to "drink* drink* drink". Soon Barney is bleary-eyed and blacked out. Next thing he knows* he is in a police station with nothing but his trousers.
    Given a token 50 baht by a soft-hearted cop (Dan Chupong* making a comic entrance)* Barney catches a motorcycle to the tourist information center* which ends up being closed. With no place to go* he sits down on a nearby curb* and while he's there* a girl comes running by. She's Katen (Narawat Techarattanaprasert)* an orphan street hustler and pickpocket. Soon some bad guys come looking for the girl* and the behemoth Barney can't help but get in the way. But the big guy is as timid as a mouse* and is pretty much useless in a fight. Backup comes in the form of Katen's friend Dokya (Sasisa Jindamanee)* a pint-sized Muay Thai fireball who explodes in a wonderous fury of whupass.
    The bad guys scattered to the wind* Katen and Dokya take the bruised* battered Barney to the local Buddhist temple* where he's given shelter and some clothing by the kindly monk. Thus begins Barney's start at rebuilding his life.
    But first he tears things apart. On a visit to Dokya's mother's beachside somtum stall* Barney witlessly ingests a heaping mouthful of the chilli- and fishsauce-infused salad* mouse-turd peppers and all. It makes him lose his mind. Instead of the green Hulk* he turns red with rage* and in a desperate attempt to find some water to cool his mouth* he twists and turns like a tornado and lays waste to the stall.
    Now apologetic* humble Barney has a mission -- to help rebuild the somtum stand. The girls decide he should learn Muay Thai and enter the ring at the local underground fight club.
    Meanwhile* there are some nefarious foreigners (7-foot-tall Conan Stevens and a Frenchman - Philippe Wanet) hanging about with a special device that appears to be a laptop computer but can actually conceal contraband* like drugs* money or stolen diamonds. The device is keyed by a special crystal that makes Thai criminals get sparkles in their eyes.
    How the two plotlines -- big* soft-hearted Barney and the stinking bad guys with their stolen diamonds -- come together is the magic of Somtum. Like some types of experimental spicy salad* the mix works fitfully at times* but is mostly fun.
    Some guest appearances and feature fights keep it interesting. The girl boxer Sasisa* grown up since her appearance as a half-pint-sized Muay Thai fighter in Born to Fight is a wonder to behold* a lethal combination of flying knees* elbows and dimples.
    In fact* Somtum is a Born to Fight reunion of sorts. Dan Chupong makes an appearance as a policeman and he mixes it up in a comical kitchen fight. Taekwando artist Kessarin "Nui" Ektawatkul* who played Chupong's sister in Born to Fight* shows up as a hilarious toothpick-chomping papaya vendor who pitches in to help Dokya out in a street fight.
    There's some foreign wrestlers on hand* too* and they mix it up with Nathan toward the end of the movie. It's a unique mix - rasslin' piledrivers and Muay Thai kicks. Somehow* it works.
    With action choreography by Panna Rittikrai (who also takes producer credit)* I got the sense that the criticism leveled at some of his past films* about fighters hanging around in the background waiting for the protagonist to attack* has been duly noted. In Somtum* when a bad guy is put down on the ground* they stay down. Or if several people attack at once* they are dealt with in ways that at least seem plausible.

    LANGUAGE: Thai
    SUBTITLE: English
    ca. 97:46 min
    730 mb

    Pass : malamute

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