I wrote about Chocolate, the new film from Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak) a month ago. Since then, the buzz has been building, and reviews are just now beginning to surface on the web.
Before we go much further, I suggest watching the trailer if you haven’t already (or even if you have), just so that you get an idea of why martial arts film fans are so excited.
Okay, now on to the reviews. First up is Wise Kwai’s review from Thai Film Journal:
The sweetness of Chocolate, the new martial arts drama by the Ong-Bak/Tom Yum Goong team of director Prachya Pinkaew and action choreographer Panna Rittikrai, is tasted in the first 30 minutes of character development. A slightly bitter, but still pleasing aftertaste comes in the last 90 minutes of non-stop, innovative and dangerous action, as new female martial arts star Yanin “Jeeja” Wismitanant single-handedly lays waste to dozens of men with just her feet, knees, shins and fists…
…Like Masashi’s fascination with the imperfections of Zin and Zen, there will be critics who will find flaws in Chocolate. And yes, eating too much chocolate might make you sick, but this amount is just about right.
Next up is Todd Brown’s review on Twitch. He thinks even less of the film’s plot and character development. The action scenes, on the other hand…
A word of advice: try and approach Ong Bak director Prachya Pinkaew’s Chocolate — his new martial arts film starring female lead “Jeeja” Vismistananda — as pure spectacle. On that level it is truly astounding. Go in expecting significant plot and character work, however, and you’ll walk away disappointed. The lessons dictated by the narrative weakness of Pinkaew’s Tom Yum Goong AKA The Protector have clearly not been learned. Vismistananda, however, is an immediate physical marvel, a sure fire international action star of the highest order…
…Do I enjoy Chocolate for what it is? Absolutely. Do I wish it were also just a little bit more? Damn straight. One of these days Pinkaew is going to realize that good script is just as important as a skilled performer to make lasting work, even in the martial arts world, and when that day comes he is going to make an absolute classic but that day has not yet arrived.
No word yet on when the film will be making its way Stateside courtesy of the Weinstein Company, who have the distribution rights. Whenever it’s released, Chocolate will be the latest in a growing line of Thai action films that have been released here in the U.S., which includes such films as Born to Fight and Dynamite Warrior.
In the meantime, let’s watch that trailer again, shall we?