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BLOOD OF WARRIORS: SACRED GROUND
DVD region 2. Metrodome.

Blood of Warriors - Sacred GroundThis 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.

The 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?

Blood of Warriors - Sacred GroundThis 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.

Inevitably, 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.

On the whole, the pluses of Blood of Warriors outweigh the minuses, with enough spectacle and action to keep most fans of the genre happy.

The 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.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (UK)

 

 

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