ASIAN FILM - Article
09:12 - 21st January 2014, by NEO Staff

Profile: Jeeja Yanin

Born Yanin Vismitananda on March 31 1984, JeeJa (Jija) Yanin went from being a sickly child to the biggest female action star ever in Thailand. Her formidable skills as a real-life martial artist as well as her ability to generate a vast amount of screen presence have won her fans across the world. And with the recent release of Tom Yum Goong 2 and Chocolate 2 in 3D in the works, Yanin's star power looks set to rise even higher. Spencer Lloyd-Peet reports.

Chocolate (2008)
Yanin was a complete unknown before being selected to play the autistic character Zen, a gifted young martial artist who sets out to collect the debts owed to her mother, who was once a moneylender but is now terminally ill and needs the money to pay for treatment. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior - 2003), Chocolate became an instant hit and catapulted the young action starlet onto the world stage. With high octane fight sequences free from any wirework, it remains her best-loved film to date.

Raging Phoenix (2008)
In her second performance Yanin combines Muay Thai with drunken boxing and hip-hop moves as she and a group of rag-tag martial artists set out to bring down a human trafficking ring that abducts young rich girls. The action is full-on with some impressive moves from a tougher and sexier Yanin, who is on top kickass form.

This Girl is Badass (2011)
Martial arts and comedy gel well together in this fun-packed action flick that sees Jakkalan, played by Yanin, get mixed up with a bunch of unruly gangsters, and is hired to transport smuggled goods for them. Things turn ugly when she decides to keep some of the money for herself. It's refreshing to see Yanin in a more playful role whilst still being a badass.

The Kick (2011)
A gang of crooks seek revenge on a Korean family skilled in taekwondo, who prevented them from stealing a precious artefact. Wawa (Yanin) is on hand to lend the family a striking fist (and foot!) or two. The plot may be thin, but the action is smeared on thick. Although Yanin's role as the fighting jungle girl is only a supporting one, her time on screen is never wasted, putting her fighting prowess to good use.

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