Curse of the Sun
Reviewed by Simon Booth

Director: Kittipong Panyathaweesub
Cast: Paul Wisut Carrley, Sitiporn Niyom, Ornjira Lamwilai, Monfar Mintra, Pairoj Jaisingha, Komgrit Yuttiyong
Year: 2004
Running Time: 81 minutes

A moderately attractive young woman testifies against some jewellery thieves, and they put a hit out on her. Driving along one day a motorcyclist pulls up besides her car and shoots her, then shoots himself. Eerily enough, the investigation shows that the motorcyclist had already been pronounced dead a week earlier. Speeding to the hospital, her actor boyfriend crashes his car and dies at the scene. The crash happens at the exact moment of a total eclipse, which may or may not be why the spirit of the boyfriend is able to appear in the hospital and magically resuscitate the girl.

Judging by the name of the film, the eclipse must be relevant somehow, but after explaining that it is a "special" kind of eclipse that only occurs once in 500 years, the film never mentions it again (in the English subtitles at least). Obviously there's been some black magic going on, and the two cops investigating the case (young rookie and grizzled older partner, naturally) have a Mulder & Scully type relationship about it (err, without the sexual tension). The bad guys aren't too happy the girl is alive, and are soon sending waves and waves of killers after her. Fortunately, they're extremely incompetent - e.g. they send 3 Ferraris out to try and force a huge SUV off the road... with predictable results.

Despite being undead in many cases, the assassinís stick to tried and tested methods like chasing their victims through the forest on dirt bikes, with machine guns... that's tried, tested and invariably failed, obviously. What it all boils down to is the director fancies himself as John Woo and Michael Bay's illegitimate progeny and wants to have lots of over-the-top bullets and explosions and not worry too much about logic or narrative. Fair play... except he doesn't have the talent to film his action scenes as effectively as Woo or even Bay. The film also goes through a bit of "slasher flick" phase, with copious blood & gore, which is a perhaps a little more competently done, and rips off THE TERMINATOR with a zombie to good effect (THE ZOMBINATOR is a film that's crying out to be made!).

The film obviously wasn't short of budget, as it's quite slickly shot and even has some passable special effects. It's been proven repeatedly that high budget can't compensate for a lack of talent though, and may even amplify it. I always say, "If you aren't very good at what you do, at least don't take yourself seriously and you might get away with it" (think how bad VERSUS would be without its tongue in its cheek!). It's not a very good philosophy, but the producers of CURSE OF THE SUN might have benefited from hearing it - unfortunately they do seem to be taking themselves seriously. There are moments when it seems like it *might* be a deliberate comedy/spoof of over-the-top cheese-fests, but I think it's unintentional. A couple of actors best known for making comedies appear in minor roles, but if their dialogue is meant to be amusing it certainly isn't translated by the subtitles (which are adequate but a bit minimal).  Some of their actions are amusing, but again it seems to be unintentional.

Still, an unintentional laugh is better than an unintentional bore, and the absurdly exaggerated action and general stupidity of the film makes it somewhat entertaining. If it *was* meant to be a comedy and the humour is just too dry to come across without speaking Thai, credit to them. That's almost certainly giving the film-makers too much benefit of doubt though, so I'll mark the film on the assumption they were trying to make an actually good film and failed...

5/10.