OF WARRIORS: SACRED GROUND
DVD region 2. Metrodome.
is the sequel to Bang Rajan, an epic Thai historical
action film that was a huge hit in its native country back in
2000, but is pretty much unknown elsewhere. Sensibly, Metrodome
have marketed this as a stand-alone movie and I suspect few viewers
would be any the wiser until they watched the making-of documentary
included on the DVD.
film tells the story of a small village in Thailand during the
Burmese invasion, who are hiding a sacred monk and carrying out
smash-and-grab raids against the invaders. But when they rescue
a division of the Thai army, they are forced to rethink their
ideas - do they stay in isolation, or do they finally stand up
and attack their enemies?
is very much a mixed bag. The opening battle scenes are strangely
uninvolving, and the characters seem rather one-dimensional and
cliched - it's hard to relate to anyone because they seem so thinly
drawn. The first half of the film therefore drags somewhat, and
I was ready to write the film off. But slowly, it comes together
- although the main characters never really develop, the dilemma
they face and the disagreements between villagers (and villages)
about what to do - if anything- against the invaders takes on
an authentic feel. Things finally come to a head in a genuinely
impressive final battle, with the warriors fighting it out in
the pouring rain against overwhelming numbers.
300 comes to mind while watching the film - however,
I imagine that many wars have seen heroic but futile attempts
by small bands against entire armies. The film has a more naturalistic
look than Zack Snyder's film though, and with real people rather
than pumped-up cartoon figures battling it out, the final battle
is more impressive as a result. It's shamelessly nationalistic
stuff - the Thais are all pretty noble (apart from the odd traitor
and coward) while the Burmese are thoroughly beastly, even given
to laughing maniacally in the grand tradition of theatrical villains.
the whole, the pluses of Blood of Warriors outweigh
the minuses, with enough spectacle and action to keep most fans
of the genre happy.
DVD comes with a badly-subtitled and edited featurette (there's
pretty much an apology flashed on screen before it starts) and
a digital copy of the film.
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