lördag 4 februari 2012

Hurricane (เจ้าพายุ, 1980)

Released on VHS is Sweden has "Thunder Kid", but the title literary means Hurricane (at least according to Google Translate). This is a seldom seen movie from the master of action, Kom Akadej. He also directed The Killer Elephants (I've released it on DVD and it's possible to buy here). The Killer Elephants is a bit corny, especially with the ridiculous English dubbing, but Hurricane is a violent power-package of cinematic action. Like almost every Thai movie from this era (which also characterizes the Bollywood production from that time) Hurricane is a mix of action, some comedy, a lot of melodrama and love story. But Akadej always knew what the audience wanted: action and action and action!

Sorapong Chatree grows up as the bastard step-son of hard-hitting cop Sombat Metanee. Sombat is treating him very badly. So our hero grows up to be a hot-heated young man who ends up in prison. There he learns to fight and be a man, and the sole reason is that he wants his childhood love back, the daughter of a local mafia boss. But the mafia don't want him alive, and they're also out to kill Sombat! What complicates everything even more is that the son of the mafia boss is his half brother! And... yeah, I got lost in the plot twist after thirty minutes! Sorry!

Yes, the story is quite convoluted and it's hard to follow all the storylines and characters, which is a weakness. But the movie is almost two hours long and keeps up the pace in a very good way, mixing action and good drama and some very silly comedy scenes with Sorapong trying to woo a girl with helping her on the farm, getting stuck with doing the dishes, cleaning the car, doing the laundry etc. On the other hand, those scenes are also quite funny and Sorapong has a good sense for slapstick comedy.

Sombat Metanee almost has an extended cameo and he's visible mostly in the beginning and in the end, but he's also excellent in a very complex part as a slightly bent cop. When we first meet him he's violent and nasty, very dark - and next time, many years later, he's an alcoholic - and in the end he's a raging revenge-filled man! It's a nice part and I guess this was one of the movies that built Metanee's career from being the typical hero to an impressive character actor. In other parts we see Nard Poowanai and my favorite baddie, Dam Datsakorn! Mr Baldy himself, Pipop Pupinyo shows up, looks angry and gets shot do death. Like in so many other movies.

I haven't seen much by Kom Akadej, but this movie proves that he was the Walter Hill/Sam Peckingpah/John Frankenheimer of Thai movies. The action is extremely well-edited and violent, and it just goes on and on without getting boring or repetitive. The best sequence is the final, a shootout in the cheapest place possible - an industrial sandpit - where Sorapong, Sombat and another fellow shoots a lot of bullets at each other. With hack behind the camera this could have been the most boring scene ever, but Akadej gives us a sensational action scene with intelligent use of slow-motion, cool angles and rapid editing. Fantastic! Before this we also see a very squib- and slow-motion filled shootout at a farm and a great fistfight up on two logs hanging from a crane!

Hurricane, or Thunder Kid, is a great and hard-to-get action film from Thailand. If you get a chance, see it and love it!