This Girl is Badass

Director: Petchtai Wongkamlao

Year: 2011
Rating: 4.0
Country: Thailand

AKA - Jukkalan

This Thai action film was clearly not aimed for audiences outside of Thailand. Two of the biggest action producers/directors/choreographers are involved in the film - Panna Rittikrai and Prachya Pinkaew - who are behind pretty much all of the great Thai action films in the past 20 years and it brings on Jeeja Yanin who had already starred in Chocolate and Raging Phoenix by this time. But the name to pay attention to is the director Petchtai Wongkamlao or as he is better known in Thailand, Mum Jokmok.

In Thailand he is the King of Comedy - in films to some degree but especially in TV where he is everywhere it seems. He has these skit type shows in front of a live audience where he batters the audiences with low brow humor of pie in the faces, insult, word play, transvestite and gay mockery and pretty much anything that he thinks will get a laugh. And he gets lots of them. They love this guy. You may have seen some of his films - he was Tony Jaa's friend in the three Ong Bak films and was the star in the two Bodyguard films. So he has some action credentials but humor is his money maker.

This film is such a mess - so badly plotted and acted with such exaggeration that I wanted to scream. But that is because the film was made for Thais. It is basically a comedy that is occasionally interrupted by an action set piece. The comedy just doesn't translate well to anyone but Thai's. Their comedy is uniquely juvenile where a fat man with giant eyebrows wearing nothing but briefs is funny, where a man rides around on a toy horse is funny, where a very large mafia leader has a falsetto voice that can break glass is funny, where another mafia head keeps complaining about stinky feet in his face is funny, where grabbing a woman's breasts during a fight is funny, where midget boxers are funny. Yikes.

And then there is the action - four large fights choreographed by Panna Rittikrai in which Jeeja gets to show her skills and does she have a lot of them. She is amazing with some incredible moves but the fights are basically done for . . . humor. Lots of goofy guys in groups going up against her to be beaten up time after time - and poorly edited to detract from her skills. We know from her other films what she is capable of doing but here so often a move is broken into three edited pieces which ruins the whole point. As to the plot? Who the hell knows. She is a bicycle delivery person for illegal shipments - drugs or money - but every time she successfully delivers the package the crooks try and get her money back by sending people to kill her. And yet she keeps delivering for the same people. None of it makes sense. Uncle Wang in the film by the way is Mum Jokmok and he plays the straight man. The funniest guy in Thai TV plays the guy who is not funny in the film. For an action junkie this film is such a waste of talent - if only Prachya Pinkaew had directed this.