For everyone who saw Tears of the Black Tiger and thought, “This could really use some rocket-surfing, a leap-frogging tiger man, and a wizard dude with Astro Boy hair who can only be defeated with virgin-pure menstrual blood,” your wishes have been granted. OK, maybe just mine: This wacko Thai import means to annihilate whatever brain cells survived all those sixth-grade viewings of Infra-Man. Another blast of Muay Thai mayhem—a martial art which to these untrained eyes looks like the ol’ knee-in-the-groin applied liberally to every other part of the body—from the makers of the mighty Ong-Bak, this one’s a som tum Western about a bandanna’d bandit (Dan Chupong) who busts out his buffalo-rustling skillz to defeat an epicene lord (Thai pop star Leo Putt, not exactly rocking his Ed Grimley coif). And not a moment too soon: The bad guy, who’s prone to Liberace-style capering, intends to dominate the country with. . . tractors! Although snazzed up with some wire work and primo gunpowder fu, the fights are staged with all the grace of backyard wrestling, if the backyard’s in Snakebite, Ala. But director Chalerm Wongpim’s skull-buster makes up in wild-eyed insanity (and excessive, arbitrary slow motion) what it lacks in acting, pacing, and coherence. Only one word describes a national cinema capable of producing Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Tony Jaa, and now a flying monkey man chasing a rocket-powered covered wagon: ideal.
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