Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Film Review: Vengeance of an Assassin (2014)

Vengeance of an Assassin (Review)
Thailand/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...this is a film you watch solely for the action."

Aching from the death of his parents, Thee (Dan Chupong) leaves home to become an assassin while his brother, Than (Nathawut Boonrubsub), stays with their drunk uncle...

Vengeance of an Assassin follows Thee and Than. After leaving his uncle, Thee conveniently runs into another uncle who allows Thee to stay with him and teaches him how to become an assassin —  presumably. So, after a minute exercise montage, Thee becomes a professional assassin. He's soon hired to protect a princess, but finds he's been setup. From there, he agrees to protect her and eventually finds himself back with his uncle and brother. Fortunately, while Thee was away, Than mastered his combat skills by watching some home videos. So, Thee and Than defend the princess from her relentless pursuer. The film leads to an epic climax and a confusing ending.

In fact, Vengeance of an Assassin is entirely confusing. I gave you the gist of the film — I tried my best to be efficient and comprehensive. In all actuality, this story is a mess. The story is convoluted and contrived. Aside from the basics, I think I was lost for 75% of the film. I hardly new any of the characters and I had absolutely no idea why this princess characters was so important. There is also a severe lack of balance and flow. It feels like it's all over the place. Then, you have the plot contrivances. This is a film were you really have to suspend belief. You have two characters that become master fighters in the blink of an eye. You have guns with unlimited ammo. You have characters recovering from fatal injuries or surviving monumental events. It's absolutely ridiculous.

However, that's actually the film's saving grace. This isn't a film you'll want to watch for the narrative — as I said, it's horrid. No, this is a film you watch solely for the action. I mean, the film starts with an action-packed game of indoor soccer! There are plenty of fights, shootouts, and explosions in this tiny 90 minute feature. People are pummeled, shot, exploded, and even impaled. Although the plot may lack fluid storytelling, there's plenty of fluidity in the seamless action scenes — many which are epic tracking shots. I may not have understood most of the plot due to the convoluted writing, but I had a good time thanks to the action. It may be over-the-top, but it was genuinely exciting and engaging.

The acting was mostly serviceable. Nothing really stood out as good or bad. There are a handful of melodramatic scenes, but nothing terrible. The film is shot well enough. The camerawork is decent, too. The fight choreography is captured wonderfully by Panna Rittikrai — the fights are vicious and fluid. The fights are only hindered by the obvious computer effects. The green screen effects also stick out like a sore thumb in other scenes, like a sequence on train where the effects are in-your-face blatant. Panna Rittikrai does not fair well as writer or director. The writing needed to be tightened and the direction smoothed to make the experience seamless and engaging. Rittikrai, however, blesses us with superb action sequences.

Overall, Vengeance of an Assassin is a decent film. The story is terrible, the writing is flawed, the acting is barely decent and the special effects are blatant. The convoluted and sloppy story is its biggest flaw. However, the film offers a spectacle of action sequences. These over-the-top, ferocious action scenes get the heart-pumping with pure adrenaline. If you don't mind a bad story and you're seeking an action fix, this is for you.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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