Born To Fight (Thailand 2004)

Rating: ***(*)
Review Date: 6/12/05

Unbelievable! A group of athletes go on a charity mission to help a poor village, which conveniently gets raided by a vicious militant group. After slaughtering a few dozen villagers, they take the entire village hostage and demand the release of their leader, General Yang. What they don't count on is the resourcefulness of the athletes and the patriotic spirit of the villagers, which leads to a bloody revolt for freedom. If this sounds a little like "Ong-Bak" (2003), it's because it was written by the same guy, and there are definite similarities in the themes and plotting. Also like "Ong-Bak," this film features some of the most amazingly dangerous and brutal stuntwork ever captured on film, and it's frightening to watch what these lunatics will do for the camera. God bless 'em though, each and every one. I seriously wonder if any casualties resulted from the production, as it's clear there were some very serious injuries. To me, the most amazingly scary scene is when a guy gets thrown off of a speeding truck and comes within an inch or two of getting his head run over as it passes by. YIKES! It harkens back to the early Jackie Chan days. As a pure "action for action's sake" movie, the film definitely satisfies, but it falters in the storytelling and coherency. And while the athletic scenes are incredibly staged, they often come across as overly silly. Think of "Circus Kids" (1994) only ten times more bloody and intense. Thankfully, unlike "Ong-Bak," there are some females thrown into the mix, and they fight splendidly, although not nearly long enough. There's even a precious little girl who gets in some wonderful chops, and she nearly steals the show. Bottom line is, if you like raw physical action and jaw-dropping, high precision stuntwork, you owe it to yourself to watch "Born To Fight."