13:56 - 22nd March 2013, by David West

Blood Of Warriors: Sacred Ground

Watching Blood Of Warriors, it is hard to shake the feeling that you have come in halfway through the story. There is a good reason for that - this is actually the sequel to the film Bang Rajan by the same director Thanit Jitnukul, which was released here in the UK in 2005 but opened in Thailand a decade ago. Be warned: there are several scenes likely to confuse anyone who has not seen the original, most notably the spirits of three characters from the first film popping up for the big throwdown at the end.

The film begins and ends with some spectacular battles, which are a blast and packed full of axes flying across the screen and spurts of blood in the wake of every sword stroke. However, the entire mid-section is nothing but a lot of gabbing as the villagers and soldiers discuss what to do about the Burmese, and various romantic subplots are played out. The scenes of life in the village are beautifully shot, but, dramatically, they are duller than a blunt butter knife. It would have helped enormously to have a spike of action at the halfway mark just to re-inject some energy into the proceedings.

Instead, Thammacott delivers one speech after another about the importance of protecting their homeland from the boo-hiss Burmese. The portrayal of the invaders is distinctly one-dimensional - they are all scum without any redeeming features at all. Nuanced it is not.

The members of the indomitable village (at times it is all very Asterix) of Kao Nang Buad are a bunch of lean, mean fighting machines led by Mun (Paradom Srichaphan). With their swords, tattoos and short-on-the-sides, long-on-the-top haircuts, they look like the meanest Thai rockabilly gang in the world. Even the young women in the village have haircuts that would fit right in at any 1950s retro club. It is a dead certainty that all those girls keep flick knives in their handbags.

If you hang in there through all the talkie bits, the reward is a thrilling final battle as the villagers and soldiers team up to ambush the Burmese as they use enslaved Thai peasants to drag a huge statue back to Burma as part of their booty. The CG giant Buddha statue is not entirely seamlessly blended into the scene, but the bloodshed comes so thick and fast it is not really much of an issue. Blood Of Warriors could benefit from a little less conversation and a little more action, but the fight scenes deliver the goods.

Thailand's very own rockabilly Braveheart - they can take our lives but they will never take our quiffs.
SCORE: 3/5
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