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Chocolate is the perfect "acid test" to determine who are fans of
action movies and who are not. How so? Let me explain. A true fan of
action movies has the ability to overlook some flaws in film-making
(e.g., script, acting, character development, etc.) if the action
sequences are exceptional enough to make up for them. This is no
different from fans of art-house dramas who can overlook minimal
content if the film can portray everyday life in interesting ways. With
that said, Chocolate is one of the best examples of an action movie
that has such extraordinary fight sequences that they easily overpower
any deficiencies in the script.
An autistic girl with martial arts skill attempts to collect on the debts of her sick mother. This movie has a mediocre script, and requires some patience from the viewer to slug through the early moments. Once the 30 minute mark arrives, however, the viewer is treated to one of the most amazing displays of asskicking by a female protagonist in the history of action cinema. Virtually all of the remaining 50 minutes is devoted to high quality choreography and bone-crunching maneuvers. The settings and scenarios change frequently, thereby avoiding any feel of repetition or monotony. This is brainless action at its very finest. JeeJa Yanin an amazing specimen with her fluid moves and hard strikes catapults herself into the upper echelon of female action stars with this single movie. Her punches and kicks start off rather basic, but get increasingly more complex until they peak during the jaw-dropping finale that lasts a whopping 20 minutes. Lots of fun to be had here.
Now, a snobby moviegoer will cry about the negatives without even considering the positives. Anyone who does not enjoy the action in this movie seriously needs to get their pulse checked, or at least schedule for a re-alignment of their action movie tastes. There's nothing more scintillating than watching a cute girl kick the living hell out of hundreds (quite literally) of stuntmen in a variety of environments. Basically, if you're not entertained by this, you're not a fan of action movies. (You probably didn't like So Close or Azumi either, right?) Stop fooling yourself and go watch another Tsai Ming-liang film.
Some critics have claimed that this movie "ripped off" other movies. It didn't. There are a few homages that last a few minutes at most (a few Bruce Lee references, a locker scene reminiscent of Jackie Chan, and some footage from Tony Jaa's movies). These few scenes are only a drop in the bucket, because 95% of the action is independent of any references to other movies. The sign-post battle on the apartment complex balconies is one glaring example of a completely novel (and breathtaking) sequence that pays homage to no one but itself.
This is definitely worth a blind buy. True fans of martial arts mayhem will end up re-watching the action scenes about a thousand times.
Well, I’m Thai and there is something foreigner needs to know is that
no matter what, Thai people will only (I meant ONLY) opted for action
movie over everything else. So I guess the studio mostly made this kind
of movie just for the marketing scheme.
For what I see this isn’t that bad of an idea, only which it has not been executed that properly. How can anyone complain about its story, it is like a bloody riff off Kill Bill plus Rain Man, and I see no one complain about that.
For what I see the movie has some potential (too much riff off) but it was an Asian action flick, so I won’t go serious on it. At least I feel the story has something more than trying to bring back the statue head to the village (Talk about Ong Bak). Zen was trying to get her money back to look after her sick mother.
Anyway the real action seems nice but much slower than men so it looks kind of odd and set up for each frame of shot. But it still work, cause if the series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer can make it big, this will put girls into an awe. Jeeja is so cute!!! A fight scenes seem a bit too long.
The acting was so-so as expected, Thai actors are never was good, even years in the business; they are still as horrible as they first day on the job. Why this movie will work more than anything else was the casting of a female protagonist: Jeeja. A girl that kick ass; girls always love that. And she is so cute!!!! Did I say that already???
The direction and editing was so-so but at least there are no repetition of each stunt from different angles shot which he did in Ong Bak, which I must say dated and lame!! So that is good news. The used of cartoon like in Kill Bill add some coloration to the movie. The score was alright. And the set was very set up.
One thing that is definitely Thai is that, it is always darn hard to get your many back once you loan it out.
Last Words: Don’t take it too serious; don’t make Fight Club out of Rambo. The movie is pretty alright for what it is.
Recommendation: Yes, why not, it was fun.
Reason To Watch: Fight, female protagonist, Jeeja!!!!!
Reason Not To: Close minded, Riff-off, Can’t stand girls beating up men.
Rating: 7/10 (Grade: C+).
Please Rate Y/N After Read.
I must have seen a totally different film than Kazuo_Kiriyama and
archip57, I found it to be an exciting,entertaining and at times even
touching martial film chock full of well choreographed and cringe
inducing fight scenes. I'm not pretending it's Lawrence of Arabia
(which, by the way contained a lot of historical inaccuracies)and its a
notch below Ong Bak, but it does what it sets out to do and succeeds
where so many Hollywood films fail in that it simply delivers the
goods: well choreographed, bone crunching fight scenes. Its the kind of
film that makes me feel giddy like a kid again and I felt the same way
watching Ong Bak,Born to Fight, and Tom Yum Goong. I found the lead
actress Jeeja Yanin to be demure and her performance very charming and
sympathy inducing, not irritating in the least.
Also contrary to other claims made by one reviewer , there are no wires used in this movie and the blooper reel at the end of the film reveal that Miss Yanin's kicks actually did hurt some of the stunt men (did you happen to watch that Kazuo_Kiriyama?) and not all of her kicks were stationary as I recall she did many flying kicks, spin kicks and multiple kicking attacks, but I guess some people we're too busy thinking of stuff to criticize the film about to really notice the great fight choreography or maybe they should be watching something more cerebrally challenge and artistic fare like "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" and stay away from immensely entertaining films like Tom Yum Goong, Born To Fight, and this one.
I watched a version that was not sub-titled so I had no clue what anyone was saying. There were a few details that weren't clear till I read the notes here in IMDb after watching it, but it didn't make a real difference. This young actress does a fantastic job of portraying the autistic side of her character, certainly didn't expect to see competition for Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man here - it will be interesting to see her in other roles. As for what most everyone will expect to see, wow. Remember Zhang Ziyi's work in Crouching Tiger - this is like those scenes but for practically the entire length of the movie. I can't think of any martial arts film I've seen that had moves any better than what is here. Roll together all the Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jason Stratham you've seen, blend in both Kill Bill's, and top it with some really brutal work for the stunt guys - and yes it's all being done by a little girl, but you won't have much trouble at all believing she could really do it. It's a shame that most people will probably never see this actress, just because she didn't happen to be born in an English-speaking country.
In this part of the world, there's no dearth of male action heroes, you
know, those with real martial arts background. Think Jet Li, Jackie
Chan, Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, and closer to home, Tony Jaa. How about a
female counterpart? You're likely to struggle hard to name a credible
one, Michelle Yeoh notwithstanding. So Thai director Prachya Pinkaew is
probably shrewd enough to identify this golden opportunity, and so
introduces us to Yanin Vismistananda in her debut feature Chocolate.
Those familiar with Pinkaew's martial arts extravaganzas with Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, will know roughly what to expect from Chocolate. Since the rumoured falling out with his main star of those movies, there's definitely some big shoes to fill, and Yanin fills them quite nicely, martial arts wise, though there were certain scenes which were quite clear that she's still a diamond in the rough with many edges left to polish. But that's not to put down her effort, except that I thought as a lady, her final delivery of those choreographed punches and kicks lacked some really hard hitting edge to them, and the curious observation that some required some speeding up, was left to be desired. What could also be improved, is the transitions between fights, because each seemed pretty much stand alone, even though you know that she's supposedly to be battling enemies continuously, but with each combatant, there seemed to be a "reset" to on-guard mode.
But what was learned from the earlier two Thai action movies, was that it was no longer necessary to repeat the action from different camera angles. This would stem from confidence in showing off the stunts from a single viewpoint, and not feel sore from not being able to cover it from multiple angles. And Chocolate had some really nice buildup in the complexity of these set action pieces. It teases with what's over the horizon starting from a few thugs at a street performance, and sets up carefully crafted action sequences for our heroine to flit from one to another, each being an excuse to dispatch goon after goon coming at her.
Influences from Hong Kong action movies are without doubt, as you can recount similar settings in various HK movies being incorporated here, such as Fong Sai-Yuk's half- crouching styled fights under a stage. What was internalized in Chocolate, was probably from the Jackie Chan styled school of action, which fuses some bit comedy, with the utilizing of everyday objects in one's surroundings to throw off opponents, or worked into the action piece as a prop for acrobatic stunts to be performed. I'd bet there are numerous sequences here that Jackie Chan himself would approve and be proud of.
And in true Jackie Chan culture, besides the end credits featuring some of the NG shots and injuries to the stars and stunt folk, you'll be glad to know that Yanin did most of her own stunts, and it's indeed no mean feat fighting in a skirt of that length, without it getting in the way. While the finale battle involves countless of Crazy88 types ala Kill Bill in wave after wave of attacks, culminating in battling it out on the facade of a multi-storey shophouse building complete with smashing windows, ledges and neon signboards, my personal favourite had to be at the abattoir. In reddish hues, the villains are sans shirts, meaning risks of personal injury are higher without padding that can be hidden underneath the clothes. And with menacing looking meat hooks hanging, and using cleavers as projectiles, just make your job drop at how these fights were choreographed and filmed, especially the slamming of bodies against concrete stalls.
Action aside, the first 30 minutes or so was devoted to developing Yanin's Zen (heh) character, a young autistic girl born of gangster parents - Dad Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) is a non-self-respecting Yakuza member who doesn't have a body full of tattoos, and Mom Zin (Ammara Siripong) belongs to the Thai triads, and ex-moll of its head honcho. In a Romeo- Juliet styled love springing from only hate, only in Singapore do you have the sex scene severely edited, which I thought was important as that's how Zen was conceived. Violence is OK, but sex is zero here. Anyway Dad had to exile himself back to Japan to avoid an all out gang war, and Zin now becomes an outcast single parent, who has to struggle with cancer, as well as raising an autistic child.
Children of such nature are usually referred to as special, and the specialness of Zen is her ability to pick up martial arts by observation. Hence thanks to DVDs of Pinkaew's earlier movies, and having to reside beside a Muay Thai school, Zen picks up the skills necessary, and get to use them when she goes hunting for her mother's debtors in order to pay for chemotherapy sessions. Money's everyone's problem, so Zen gets to use her fists, knees and elbows on her opponent's face, body and shin. I'd always love watching knees and elbows connect to deliver blows on opponents and inflicting excruciating pain, and in her lithe form, Zen delivers them with balletic grace.
Anyway I'd guess no one's really interested in how the story gets developed, which is not without its fair share of loopholes, but we're all here to watch Yanin Vismitananda kick some serious butt. And she does so convincingly enough to warrant a fan following onto her next movie, and make it an action one please!
For a start this movie has a story line without to many hickups and the main actors show a certain sensibility not common in a martial art flick. Basically it's about how athletic a human body can be and, if you put behind the idea of a young girl capable to fight a LOT of men, quite enjoyable. The truth goes on in the end, where they show a couple of scenes from production, making people understand this is a movie, not the real life. The acrobatic scenes on the building and the fight are the best scenes, even if ripped from Ong Bak and The Protector, but it's good to see there are many people capable to do this. Sit back and enjoy a good ride from the Thai cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is fantastic! Another masterpiece from Prachya Pinkaew, the
guy who brought us the action masterpieces Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong
-aka- The Protector. The martial arts choreography is simply superb.
The same old fights you've seen in a million other movies (especially
American Hollywood films filled with so much Karate and pro boxing
garbage with only straight punches and usually no kicks or very weak
straight kicks) pale in comparison with the diversity that this film
offers in terms of different moves. You will be in awe at the
acrobatics the human body can do while doing free form Muay Thai.
I wouldn't say that this movie rips off other movies, but you can tell that the director has learned from the best by studying the legendary films of Bruce Lee. The scene in the ice factory made me think of Fist of Fury, but the fighting and choreography wasn't at all the same. I thought Protector actually was a rival for Enter the Dragon which I think is one of the best action movies ever. Protector was almost entirely non-stop fighting with about 15 minutes of dialogue in between. Now that's what I call an action movie! The scenes with the elephants are really awesome too! With Chocolate, the director seems to be going back to what he was trying to do with Ong Bak, which is to have a compelling story to be the back-drop to give the movie more flavor than just strictly action scenes.
This movie is an improvement by finding the middle ground and having a developed story as well as fight scenes that seem like an eternity, although at times (having known some autistic people myself) I find it difficult to believe that an autistic girl could move like that. I suppose it could be possible maybe. Maybe that wasn't really what was wrong with her, but the translation came out that way. This is way better than any other movie that has come out this year including the recent Donnie Yen release. The main girl Zen (Yanin Vismitananda) is very talented.
The first section of the movie was pretty much just an extended montage, it could probably be cut entirely out of the film and it would still be awesome. Maybe just edit for time and keep essential details. The story was a good attempt at being serious and tragic (which is what drama is all about, study your Greeks) and the cinematic experience was compelling and well acted even if the premise seems a little unrealistic. I highly recommend this movie to fans of action and martial arts films! The final act, where the heroine takes out dozens of guys is simply amazing. Combine her Muay Thai and then throw in some Japanese sword fighting by her dad and then go back to the boxing, what a brilliant original idea!
Don't listen to those other commentators, they have no clue what they're babbling about, this film in no way rips off Kill Bill! There is a major distinction: in Chocolate the martial arts are real (even if sometimes it's just acrobatic gymnastics), and in Kill Bill the martial arts on the part of the heroine are fake as hell. If anything, both movies borrow from many old films where one person faces off against many. You could take for example any number of Japanese samurai films or Chinese kung fu movies like Bruce Lee's Chinese connection, where he has to fight a whole bunch of guys at once. There are so many of these types of scenes it's impossible to believe that this movie "ripped off" other movies, especially when it's a different style. How many Thai boxing films have you seen? Well Ong Bak, The Protector, and Chocolate take Thai boxing to a whole new level cinematically. You should not complain, these are some of the best action movies ever made!! High marks for being an amazing piece of action choreography and also having the sense to add tragedy which was well acted and turned out looking rather good, even if it seemed somewhat unrealistic in concept at times.
Hollywood is so pathetic these days with their endless happy endings. Real life is tragic, tragedy in film reminds us of our human mortality. I don't understand why all these Hollywood films these days never learned from Shakespeare who stole all his material from the Greek plays and myths. I know they were taught to study Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and the like. But all you ever get is happy endings. It seems like it causes delusions of grandeur in some Americans that everything is going to be a happy ending because they saw it happen in the Hollywood movies. Whereas real life doesn't work that way. Everybody doesn't live and lovers aren't all reunited for the finale kiss before the credits roll.
The ending of chocolate was very smart in that there was death and then afterwards was a sort of morbid happy ending where life goes on without the loved one, but sadness is inevitable, undeniable, and unshakable in the wake of losing the loved one.
In Thailand, during a tense meeting between the Yakuza Masashi (Hiroshi
Abe) and the powerful boss of Thai mafia No. 8 (Pongpat
Wachirabunjong), his mistress Zin (Ammara Siripong) falls in love for
Masashi and becomes his lover. When No. 8 discovers their affair, he
orders Masashi that does not know that Zin is pregnant to return to
Fukuoka, Japan, alone. She delivers a baby girl named Zen and sooner
the doctors diagnose that she is autistic. Zen is raised watching the
students of a martial arts school nearby her home and Kung Fu movies on
television and she learns how to fight by herself. When Zen (Yanin
Vismitananda) is a teenager, her friend Moon (Taphon Phopwandee) uses
her accurate reflexes to raise money to help Zin in her treatment of
cancer. The snoopy Moon finds a black book with people that owe money
to Zin, and he decides to collect the loans with Zen to pay the
treatment of Zin. The girl is forced to fight with the henchmen of the
businessmen to receive the money, attracting the attention of No.8 that
captures Moon to force a meeting with Zin that tells Masashi that he
has a daughter and is returning to Thailand.
I have just watched "Chocolate" and it definitely is the best action movie of 2009. The martial arts skill of Yanin Vismitananda is very impressive and the choreography of the fights is perfect, giving the sensation that they are for real. Along the credits, it is possible to see some accidents during the filming inclusive with the lead actress; in the end, the crew with a lady wearing a shirt written Brazil says good-bye to one injured actor or stunt in the hospital. Quentin Tarantino has recently provided his list of the eight best films of 2009 to the magazine Hollywood Reporter and "Chocolate" is ranked #5 in his opinion. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Chocolate"
what we have here are 2 major outlines on opposite poles of each other that best describe the movie. more like the angel on the left shoulder and the devil on the right if you will. the "dark" side of the movie portrayed as the "devil" brings about a negative sort of touch to the movie in terms of the script which is outrageously bad or in milder terms, too simple. the "angel" side of the movie shines in terms of choreography which is one of the best i've seen mostly because it is not repetitious and most of all, the heart of this movie reflects in the choreography's REALISTIC touch in the truest way possible. if you own the DVD version watch the end credits and you will know what i mean. the story is all common...one man army (in this case one-girl army...yes, people you've read correctly not one-woman, but ONE-GIRL ARMY)which sets about to bring justice with a personal touch to the one she loves most...her mother, but the incredible action/fighting scenes are even more complicated given the fact the girl is autistic, and as much as they're complicated they're gracious and extremely well executed especially with the slow-motion camera. after the 30-minute mark, gradually we are introduced in the world of martial arts at its finest, with a gradual build-up of simple moves which later enchant the eyes as they transform in spectacular acrobatics. the last half hour of the movie (besides the main character), is the crown jewel of this flick, as the viewer is treated to a whopping!!!! 20 minutes of non-stop!!!! action sequences and fine acrobatics. all-in-all the summary looks something like this: poorly written script with a story that excels in action/acrobatics...in other words choreography at its finest. the latter makes up big time in terms of what the script is lacking but given these circumstances i think a truly martial arts fan can easily overlook the only big minus of this movie...the script. if the script would've been more complex, this could easily have passed for the perfect movie of its genre, but you cant have them all, can you ? still it is a good one to watch, totally entertaining. and on one last note, the plot says "an autistic woman...." the character is a girl not a woman, there is a major difference between the two. peace all and enjoy this bruce-lee stylized flick.
Film was really surprising! The story was good, the acting was good, and the martial art/stunts were amazing! Its a must see if you ask me. This little girl and the rest of the crew put life and limb on the line (for real) as you'll see in the Jackie Chanish end blooper reel (well more like a injury video log).. Anyway you'll enjoy this well done film and you'll tell other about it. The story was interesting... We begin with the parents of our main lead .... The mother a gangsters girl and the dad the same gangsters rival.... Until they get together and have a child , that turns out to be autistic ... later her and her closest friend encounter trouble as they try to collect money to pay the mothers medical bills .... who has turned out to have cancer// Her great skills appear when her savant ability to see and copy TV/video games/etc makes her a martial arts goddess
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