In the world of action flicks, it is becoming harder and harder to find originality. Too many times, action directors repeat themselves and even borrow from other directors in order to spit out a film just for the sake of making money. Director Panna Rittikrai certainly does not fall into this category, and I’m very thankful to say his final film (before his death), VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN, even brings a few new moves to the table. And while this film is not perfect, it is a blast nonetheless and very entertaining to watch.
If you are not familiar with VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:
The Assassin’s Code: Stick to the mission; Never take your eyes off the target; Show no mercy. Natee became a killer for one reason—to discover who killed his parents. As he gets closer to uncovering a secret network of power and corruption, he is double-crossed on a job, making him a target and putting everyone he loves in danger. Betrayed, exposed, and hunted by the deadliest killers in the business, now Natee has a new code: Be faster; Stronger; Hit harder; Survive.
Rittikrai should definitely go down in cinema history as one of the men who redefined action. He directed titles like the ONG BAK trilogy, BORN TO FIGHT, and THE BODYGUARD, but then also did the action sequences and stunt work for films like THE PROTECTOR (once again working with the talented Tony Jaa), CHOCOLATE, and RAGING PHOENIX. He always pushed the limits of action, and as a result, the films on which he worked were always fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled.
VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN is shot well and looks good from a production standpoint. The budget looks fairly high, and no expense was spared on squibs for sure; there are tons of chest-popping bursts throughout the film, so many that I thought I was watching a John Woo film! This is certainly not a negative, either…they are well done and look great, even in slow motion.
The acting is average, typical for an action film of this nature. Some of it is overdone, and some of it is just plain bad…but the drama is not what drives films like this. It’s the action, pure and simple.
And speaking of action, the fight scenes in VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN are amazing. Rittikrai and his team have put together some amazing fight choreography. I have yet to see one of his films that didn’t astound me in regard to its intensity and acrobatic brutality. Skulls are crushed, legs and smashed, and one character is even run over with a variety of cars multiple times. I can’t put into words how much I enjoyed the fighting this film, but I will say it is the highlight of the whole movie.
Which brings me to the negatives. Unfortunately, there are a couple. First and foremost is the convoluted plotline. There’s so much going on at certain points that it’s hard to follow. And much of it doesn’t even make sense, even when you can figure out what’s happening. I think I see where Rittikrai was trying to go, but the storyline never really comes together. This actually didn’t hinder me much from watching the film, because I was focusing more on the ass-kicking.
Secondly, the computer effects used towards the end are terrible. The helicopter and much of the train were rendered using computer imagery, but the quality is reminiscent of mid-90s video game technology. Again, this didn’t detract from my movie-watching experience too much, but it certainly stuck out to me.
Overall, however, VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN is a fun film chocked full of body-crushing action and intensity. I recommend giving this one a look, particularly for nothing else but the fighting. It is available now in a variety of formats, so give it a look.