The Passion (Ammahit)

Director: Sarunyu Wongkrachang
Year: 2006
Duration: 105 minutes

Bongkot Kongmalai is chemistry at work. While nearly all Thai actresses fall into either the very cute category or the refined tall model prominent cheekbone types, Bongkot is about the only cinematic sex symbol that Thailand has. She oozes sex like a leaky faucet with her sensual lips, large vulnerable brown eyes and enough cleavage to start a small riot. Over the past few years she has appeared in all types of films from one of the women warriors in "Bang Rajan" to an action heroine in “Dangerous Flowers”, but when the producers are looking for stark neon sex they head in Bongkot’s direction such as in the voyeuristic “The Story of the X-Circle”. And if they need someone to take a mud bath as in “Tom Yum Goong” there is really only one choice in Thailand.

In “The Passion” Bongkot gets to show off not only her sex appeal but also her woman warrior side in this extremely physical and almost brutish film. “The Passion” is B-grade all the way through with a definite tilt towards the old fashioned sleazy female exploitation films in the manner of a Hong Kong film like the Shaw Brothers “The Kiss of Death”. Admittedly, the first thirty or so minutes were so distasteful and dim that I was debating leaving before I needed a shower but just about that point the film takes off into a different direction that was pure trash action fun.

Many of us find the modern day multiplex to be rather a sterile impersonal affair where we are served by polite bored drones and frozen in our air conditioned deep soft seats. Behind this bland projection though things can be very different – at least at Multiplex World where perversion is rampant with drug dealing, blackmailing, raping employees, soliciting customers, hidden cameras in the bathroom stalls and murder. If only we could see that side of the multiplex experience!

Praew (Bongkot) has gone to the multiplex to kill herself with a hinted at abused childhood and an adult rape captured on film being the explanation for her pain and her near robotic personality all wound up as tight as a drum. Chai who manages the place and runs roughshod over his employees and occasionally finds the time to rape the women spots Praew on his monitor and after one quick glimpse of her famous cleavage he trails her into the theater and begins to molest her with no resistance as the rest of the film audience watches a horror movie unaware of what is happening behind them. Finally he forces her into the bathroom and begins to rape her, but she eventually reaches into her bag for the knife she brought to off herself with and stabs him with it. She escapes from the bathroom, but Chai is able to shut down the mall before she can get out and he calls his security force together and asks them to find and kill her. No one objects.

She is soon joined though by the tough female bathroom attendant, Noi (Prangthong Changdhan), who wants to get back at Chai and the two of them spend much of the rest of the film frantically trying to get away and stay alive as they rush around the mall. Needless to say, in the process they find it necessary to kill many of their pursuers in grisly and lovely fashion and that’s where this film turns into so much fun as it just increases the tension and violence little by little. A lighted poster of Jim Carrey as “The Cable Guy” has a wonderful cameo and for a movie theater there sure is a surfeit of deadly weapons such as samurai swords to electric drills. Veteran actor Sarunyu Wongkrachang not only directs this in his debut but also makes Chai one of the more sleazy and evil bad guys in a while. I am not sure what mall was used to film the movie but Sarunyu makes great use of it from the bowling alley to mannequins to a indoor pool with slides.

My rating for this film: 6.5