tisdag 1 maj 2012

Tiger Show (พยัคฆ์ยี่เก, 1982)

Another day, another movie without subtitles. But what to expect from me? Here's an interesting film, Tiger Show, obviously a co-production between Thailand and Hong Kong with Sorapong Chatree and David Chiang in the leads. There's another Hong Kong actor playing the bad guy, but I can't for all the booze in the world remember his name or where I've seen him. Probably in a Shaw Brothers production. Pipop Pupinyo and Rith Luecha shows up doing their traditional baddies also, which is a pleasure as usual.

If I get the story right Sorapong is a stage actor, a traditional singer and dancer in a travelling theatre group. David Chiang is somehow involved in this also, or something related. Anyway, they're a rivals and always gets into fights and adventures with each other. But of course there's bad guys nearby and they try to steal (maybe) something from the group, my guess is something valuable they use in the show. This intensifies the attacks and soon it's a matter of life or death! Because the villains is using small airplanes to shoot harpoons from, killing everyone in sight!

A spectacular movie in every sense, this one deserves a restored release - I'm not even sure it's out on VCD or any other format. Maybe VHS? What the movie lacks in story because of lack of subtitles it regains with a lot of action. This actually has some quite impressive, but not original, fight scenes - both from Chatree and Chiang versus an army of henchmen. Like all Thai action movies from the eighties this also ends with a big battle at the bad guys camp with a lot of exploding tents and huts, people falling from guard towers and squibs. It's quite bloody in parts, with a couple of the typical Hong Kong blood squirts when swords hits a body (done by squeezing a bag of blood in your hand when you grasp the wound).

The most impressive stunts is the aerial footage with these small airplanes battling each other up in the sky plus some nice parachuting also! Not bad for a very obscure movie in other parts than Thailand. I think this also became a lakorn, a Thai TV-series 20-25 years later. So it must have been a big hit when it came.

When watching this it also strikes me how often Thai male actors have no problems with playing around with gender, sexuality, or just appearance. Sure, this is about Thai traditional theatre where make-up and choreography is very special, and in some ways effeminate. But I can't even count how many times I've seen Sombat Metanee doing his drag-routine or actors like Sorapong continue to do his more feminine acting style - just for fun, a good laugh, but they always takes it a little bit further than, for example, American movies. Just like when you see action heroes cry in Hong Kong and Japanese movies, it's easy to understand that being a man is not just being cold and brutal - it's about emotions and letting yourself go.

But that's a another story in Thai cinema and I'll leave it for now - or until I find a movie which deals with it specifically. Tiger Show was great movie, recommended. Good action, good actors and a lot of stolen music from Indiana Jones!