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Pusit is having the worst day of his life. He just lost his job and is in serious debt. That is all about to change when he receives a mysterious phone call with a tempting offer. If he could complete 13 tasks, he will win 100 million Baht. Pusit agrees and the game begins.Written by
A surprisingly decent little Thai thriller that comes across as a mix of FALLING DOWN and DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, 13: GAME OF DEATH is unique in that it offers something from a country that we haven't seen before. Most Thai movies I watch are typically poor vengeful ghost style movies that lack a single iota of originality, but this film has a lot more going for it. It's pretty well made too, with director Chookiat Sakveerakul eliciting plenty of suspense from his premise and a fair amount of good twists as the narrative progresses.
This isn't a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. The script is fast-paced and witty, yes, and the liberal sprinklings of blackly comic humour definitely add to the experience to make it more palatable. You may be inclined to think there's at least one too many twists come the unsatisfactory end, though. In addition, and this comes as no surprise, the characters are underwritten; the writer allows Krissada Sukosol's protagonist to develop through the nature of his experiences, but it's not enough to elicit any sympathy in the viewer in the same way as, say, Michael Douglas's character did in FALLING DOWN.
Still, there's plenty of intensity here, and the anything-goes premise means that we're in for plenty of incident even if some of it is lacking. The 'well' set-piece, clearly derived from RING, is a real stand-out, while the restaurant scene will be sure to test the stomachs of even the toughest viewer, coming across as an extreme and timely version of a certain reality TV gameshow, I'M A CELEBRITY...GET ME OUT OF HERE! There's also at least one ultra-gory CGI effect that had me genuinely shocked with its realism and effectiveness. No, 13: GAME OF DEATH isn't perfect but it is a great deal of fun, and one of the freshest and most inventive Thai movies I've seen in a while.
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