Chocolate (2008) Poster

(2008)

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9/10
A Mediocre Script, But the Action Is Everything You Want It To Be!
ebossert14 May 2008
Note: Check me out as the "Asian Movie Enthusiast" on YouTube, where I review tons of Asian movies.

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.
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6/10
Exciting Thai movie with violent combats , thrills , action-packed and inevitable ending showdown
ma-cortes24 October 2013
This is an unstoppable action movie plenty of violent fights , thrills and emotion . Over-the-top Chop-Socky in which wild fighting scenes provide an overwhelming view of JeeJa Yanin's skills . Colourful , Bangkok-set , well budgeted , leave no cliché untouched , but fights are perfectly staged . This is a Martial Arts action as never seen before in which an autistic girl called Zen (Yanin) with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother (Ammara)'s debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money . She watches the neighbours next door and Muay Thai films , absorbing every martial technique . As young Zen and Mangmoom watch a picture , it results to be : Ong-Bak: Muay Thai warrior , among other movies . Furthermore , Zen also watches Thai Dragon . Later on , her father (Hiroshi Abe) , a Japanese gangster , returns Thailand seeking vengeance against a Thai mobster .

This violent Chop-Socky displays action-packed , thrills , fast-paced and wild fighting images . It is a thrilling , action-filled and violent film , being filmed in Thailand . Breathtaking combats filled with bounds and leaps , Knock-outs , punches , kicks . Actors made their owns stunts ; some of the players got injured and to had to be hospitalized during the shooting . Impressive fights and embarrassing acting , the whole thing was spectacularly shot . Overwhelming final duel in Bruce Lee's Game of death and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill style .

This thrilling film has various homages to Bruce Lee , Jackie Chan and two films starred by Tony Jaa and were also directed by Prachya Pinkaew . The film originally included Zen watching scenes from Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies , but these scenes were eventually cut due to licensing problems ; these licensing problems also caused other scenes to be removed from the original movie . The ice factory scene was originally shot as a split screen of Zen imitating the exact same moves she had seen Bruce Lee do in a fight scene from the movie Fists of Fury or Big Boss. The motion picture was well directed by Prachya Pinkaew who is President of Thai Film Directors' Association . Pinkaew is an expert filmmaker on art martial movies , being mostly starred by his fetish actor Tony Jaa , such as 2012 The Protector 2 , 2011 The Kick , 2011 Elephant White , 2008 Chocolate , 2005 Thai Dragon , an the successful 2003 Ong-Bak: the warrior Muay Thai .
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7/10
Its a good action film, ignore Kazuo_Kiriyama
chowyunpat18 May 2008
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.
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8/10
way better than I expected
mostlysane24 May 2008
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.
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8/10
Chocolate is a superb action movie! Nearly up to Bruce Lee standards.
lucius_4209 April 2008
Warning: 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.
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8/10
Good athletics !
limona_razvan3 May 2008
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.
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7/10
A Nutshell Review: Chocolate
DICK STEEL15 May 2008
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!
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9/10
Amazed at the skills
edmoore21230 May 2008
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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10/10
Please, get this girl to Hollywood and make her famous!
lrosen6214 November 2011
Without divulging the plot or the ending, I want to share my thoughts about Jeeja Yanin, so that people will know what they are getting. Her father died when she was young, 11 or 12, and given that she was a gold medalist in Tae Kwon Do as a child who had achieved 3rd level Dan, (equivalent to Black Belt) she helped support her mother and brother by becoming an instructor of TKD at age 14. She auditioned at age 18 for a small part in Born To Fight, and was noticed by filmmaker Prachya Pinkaew, and action stunt trainer Panna Rittikrai, when they decided she was special enough to make an entire film for. This girl quit University studies and trained for this film for four years. She trained under Rittikrai, the mentor of Tony Jaa, and Jaa himself. She trained for 2 years in preparation and 2 years while making the film. She also studied the symptoms and behavior of autistic children, staying with them and working with them, and reading up on everything she could in available literature and film on the subject, including Rain Man, etc. In addition to this, she had to overcome fear of heights (you'll see why) and subjected herself to constant injury, including life risking stunts. Watch the movie and enjoy her spectacular debut, and remember that you were there when a star was born. Enjoy the fact that she is a very special person, who put heart and soul into making the movie.
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9/10
The Best Action Movie of 2009
claudio_carvalho16 January 2010
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"
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Martial art movie fans should find this one satisfying
harry_tk_yung21 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I think it's reasonable to assume that anyone interested in this movie would have watched at least one of the three movies with Tony Jaa, Thailand's recently discovered national treasure, a guy who combines the dexterity of Jackie Chan with deadliness of Jet Li. Director Prachya Pinkaew who discovered Jaa now brings to the world of martial art movie Jeeja Yanin, bringing back the Amazon era of female martial artist in the 90s.

It is also reasonable to assume that in this genre, the plot is needed only to serve as a link, usually a feeble one, to string the various escalating action scenes to reach the ultimate climax. For example, in "Ong-bak" (2003), Tony Jaa's first movie, the plot is simply the quest to recover a stolen treasure. "Chocolate" has a little more than that by way of plot, albeit still a simple one.

A Thai woman and a Japanese man, from their respective gangs, encounter in Thailand and falls for each other (and seldom do you find such a handsome looking pair). He eventually has to return to Japan, leaving her pregnant as well as outcast by her gang. The baby, a girl, is born autistic, but is compensated with an uncanny ability acquire martial art moves by merely watching (other people in actual practice or just on the TV screen, including Tony Jaa!). When her mother develops cancer, she sets out to collect her mother's old debts, with the help of the usual non-fighting but helpful in every other way comic sidekick (Tony Jaa has one like that too in "Ong-bak"). The Thai kingpin comes back into the picture and the girl's mother sends for help from her father in Japan, with whom she has been corresponding all these year. Climatic finale. I don't need to elaborate on the holes in the plot. That is irrelevant.

The fighting sequences are remarkably well crafted, with various interesting settings like an ice factory, a butcher shop and the ledges and neon signs outside a multi-story row of buildings. The fights are everything imaginable, almost with one theme designated to each scene – one on kicks, another fist-work, another elbows and knees, acrobatic stunts, Japanese swords….you name it. There is also delicious black humour, particularly in the butcher shop.

But nothing has any meaning if the hero (heroine in this case) is not worth watching. Jeeja, as she is now fondly known to her fans, is way above "worth watching". Superbly trained in martial arts long before she made this movie (and she looks to be still in her teens), she is lightning fast and deadly accurate with her moves. No, she doesn't have the explosive power of Tony Jaa but she is so beautiful to watch. Her action is as crisp as a piece of lightly battered tempura fried just to perfection (sorry I can't think of a Thai dish), but tempura, however perfect is the taste, does not come with the delightful sound of cracking bones that brings such immense satisfaction.

While the plot is feeble, it does have something to offer by way of delicate emotions, such as in the scenes between mother and daughter. Jeeja does not have much opportunity to act, because of the very nature of her character (I mean it's not like the autistic that Dustin Hoffman does in "Rain man" or Sigourney Weaver in "Snow cake"). But I think she can act, given the opportunity. This movie, however, is obviously to showcase her martial art rather than acting-school training. I even suspect that it is partly for this that the girl is written as an autistic person, so as to tone down somewhat the audiences' sentimental attachment to allow them to concentrate on the action.

During the end credit, instead of showing the funny slip-ups, they show something that can make you flinch, if you are not prepared for it (or maybe even if you are prepared for it) – all the endless injuries Jeeja as well as the stunt crew sustained during filming, including a visit to the hospital for one of them. They showed these in back-and-white, I think because there was too much blood, not tomato-sauce props or computer-generate crimson, but actual bloods that real people spilled. When I got to that part, I understood why a local film critic wrote that he felt it is akin to feeding Christians to the lions for entertaining. And that's not a good feeling.
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10/10
a cute little girl with a score to settle and outstanding martial arts skills takes revenge on her mother's wrong doers
Reiko_9511 June 2008
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.
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7/10
Don’t Make Fight Club Out of Rambo
Mr_Sensitive4 March 2008
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.
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10/10
A worthy movie
niklas4320 May 2008
I randomly saw this movie because i couldn't find anything else interesting to watch. Well as it turned out i loved this movie, it is about an autistic girl, that starts to focus on sound. (for autistic people they often base fears and joy and other stuff on on thing that they have put focus on, in this case sound). This makes her afraid of flying insects like bees and such as they are hard to hear how they move throw the air, instead of like a ball. She starts training for martial arts, and the rest is for you to watch :D

Over all its a good movie with some thought to it, and some amazing fighting scenes, no matter if you are a fan of it or not.
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9/10
A sensational, crowd-pleasing, bone-crunching piece of "Chocolate"
dee.reid18 April 2009
"Chocolate" is a sensational, crowd-pleasing, bone-crunching piece of martial arts action kick-'em-up from one of the last places to pop up on the international martial arts scene, Thailand. It's from director Prachya Pinkaew, who was behind the Tony Jaa action flicks "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" (2003) and "The Protector" (2005), both of which are featured prominently in the film.

I have no idea what influence, if any, Jaa had on this production, but "Chocolate" is very much in league with both "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" and "The Protector" in that "Chocolate" utilizes brutal, bone-crunching fight choreography mixed with over-the-top stunt-work by Panna Rittikrai, and no wire-work or CGI. Unlike those other two films, however, this film has a touching sense of sweetness underlying the on-screen brutality, and it gives "Chocolate" an emotional edge rare for this sort of film.

While "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" and "The Protector" boasted a lot in terms of stellar action set-pieces, the plots were often rather weak and the story suffered from an apparent lack of coherence and certain scenes sometimes tended to hamper your overall enjoyment of the picture because they felt random and out-of-place; this is Pinkaew's one true weakness as a filmmaker, which is his inability to breath sufficient life into his stories and demonstrate a sense of control over them as well.

That's really not much of a problem with "Chocolate," because while the story gets off to a bit of a slow start, things pick up once the action gets going, and doesn't really stop until the credits roll (the last half-hour of the film is virtually one long action-fight sequence). This time, Pinkaew really seems to know where he wants his story to go, and is good in maintaining our interest in it - perfectly and effectively engaging our attention to what's going on - and the characters, as well as the action scenes.

A Yakuza (Japanese mafia) gangster named Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) falls in love with Zin (Anmara Siripong), the former girlfriend of ruthless Thai gangster No. 8 (Pongpat Wachirabunjong). From Masashi and Zin's brief yet passionate love affair, comes Zen, a half-Japanese, half-Thai autistic girl who develops an uncanny passion for martial arts, teaching herself by watching TV and the fighters at the Muay Thai academy next door and mimicking their movements. Years later, as a teenager, Zen (the cute Yanin Vismistananda, also known as JeeJa Yanin), is living with her mother and Moom (Taphon Phopwandee), Zen's only friend.

Zin is diagnosed with cancer and she desperately needs medicine, but has no money to pay for her treatments. Zen and Moom have been trying to raise money by putting on public shows of Zen's incredible skills catching objects thrown at her without even looking. Somehow, they stumble onto a list belonging to Zin of tardy debtors who are refusing to pay back their money. That's when Zen decides to put her years of martial arts imitation and training to the test, and puts them to use against the legions of shady business owners and Thai gangsters who owe her mother money.

I can honestly say that with "Chocolate," a new female action star is on the rise, and that is the hot action-powerhouse JeeJa Yanin. Unlike most martial arts movies, she delivers one of the most touching, affectionate, and sympathetic performances ever for this sort of movie. She is so convincing as someone suffering from a disability that you almost forget that she can kick your tail between your legs two times before you even know what hit you; it goes to show that just because she's handicapped, it doesn't mean she can't kick a little a** too (and channel a little bit of Bruce Lee while she's at it). Many of the film's quieter moments where she is featured are full of honesty and emotion (especially in the heart-to-heart family scenes with her mother and Moom), a rare trait in martial arts movies. I have no idea how she trained for her performance, but she deserves some strong accolades for her work here.

And when it comes to the action scenes, she doesn't disappoint in that area either. She certainly knows how to play rough with the boys who have been doing this stuff for years. And true to previous films where Rittikrai has been choreographing the action, the scenes in "Chocolate" are utterly preposterous and become increasingly so - sequences include fights in an ice factory, a slaughterhouse, and on the side of a building - but they're filled with such energy and brutality that you can't help but be stunned and amazed, and wondering how these guys survive these increasingly grueling treks into the land of hurt from scene to scene, and film to film.

"Chocolate" is a sweet but brutal treat from the film-making team responsible for a renewed wave in martial arts movie fanfare. Just remember that "Chocolate" is not only sweet, but brutal, and deadly.

9/10
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9/10
Much better than what one would expect...
moriol19 February 2009
I went to the store and was looking for a basic martial movie. I found "Chocolate". For people who do not know, there are apparently two versions of this movie: a long version that was projected in Thailand and a shorter version that was released in the US. I watched the short version in Thai with English subtitles.

I expected some kick-ass action and a very stupid scenario as it is customary in this kind of movie (and the jacket did not help changing my mind). I was very surprised by its poetry. In particular, I really enjoyed the shooting: it is very good and shows a huge variety of shots. In a sense I think this is at the level of a movie like "Requiem for a Dream" even if in a different style. The movie has the same flavour as if it were a manga adaptation sometimes. For example the last fight seems to be coming from a mythical scene and needed to be there to make the movie complete. It made me really willing to watch Ong Bak as it is actually made by the same director and acclaimed by other people commenting on the Net.

The lead actress is excellent and she gives huge credibility to her character. I am curious to know what she can do in a different role. The fights seem very realistic and I enjoyed them especially because the choreography was very well done and did not look 100% traditional. The mother and the father of the girl acted quite well as well.

The only characters that were over the top are the bad guys. Actors really had troubles with those ones. Luckily enough, they are not appearing in most of the movie (thanks to the poetic moments).

Overall, I would advise people who are not rebuked by martial arts movie to watch it...
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6/10
Sweet yet deadly... Chocolate.
dvc515910 October 2008
Fancy that. Thai movies have long been panned by audiences and critics alike. That movies are mostly known for comedies, horror, and (from 2003's Ong Bak up until now) action movies. These movies are made to suit the tastes of Thai people. Made by Thais, for Thais. Not so for their brand of action. Prachya Pinkaew's "Ong Bak" proved Thai cinema can have an audience worldwide. HIs following film, "The Protector" a.k.a. "Tom Yum Goong", upped the ante with more hard-hitting action. Unfortunately, the latter was a mixed bag due to its ridiculous plot (Thai village boy going all the way to Sydney, Australia to find his village's elephant). Thankfully, the latest offering from director Prachya Pinkaew does not have the level of absurdity that "The Protector" did, and it proves to be his most violent film yet.

Set in Bangkok, Chocolate tells the story of Zen ("Jeeja" Yanin Vismitananda), the autistic daughter of Yakuza boss Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) and his Thai wife Zin (Ammara Siripong). Masashi is forced to leave Zin due to threats by the Thai mafia, and poor Zen has to take care of Zin and fend off the Thai mafia alone. As if that's not enough, she has cancer and is dying. Zen, grown up, having lived in a Muay Thai academy and watching too many Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee movies, fights gangsters who owe her mother money to pay for her treatment.

Okay, I admit, the story is a bit absurd, but at least it's better than "The Protector". Granted, Jeeja Yanin is a martial arts force to be reckoned with, and in dramatic scenes she is cute and appears pitiful at the same time. The other supporting actors were okay, though I did find the idea of transvestite gangsters played straight disturbing. But it's all right. Surprised to see Japanese actor Abe in this one, not to mention I did not expect a Japanese subplot in the film.

Now for the action sequences. They are lean, mean, balls-to-the-wall, and downright brutal. Bones are broken. Limbs are shattered. Heads are bashed. Kicks and punches are fired everywhere. People, the action and fight scenes you see on the screen are REAL. As proof, they have outtakes at the end of the movie, showing the injuries obtained by stuntmen and the main actress during filming. Why, some of them even had to be admitted to hospital! When I saw this movie in the cinema, the audience was groaning and wincing at the painful injuries inflicted upon the baddies, and boy did they get it bad! It's clear that director Pinkaew takes great pride in his work, and he shows effort to make it as realistic as possible. Pinkaew, choreographer Panna Rittikai and Jeeja Yanin can take a bow, their work can be appreciated here.

So, if you're looking for a nice, high-octane, adrenaline rush, see this film. It's a must for action buffs. You may turn your brain off before screening, but I definitely enjoyed this in the cinema.

Entertainment value: 10/10

Overall value: 8.1/10

Delton
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7/10
surprised to hear people complaining about "rip-offs"
PKazee27 July 2008
Though the English subtitles on the copy I watched were nearly indecipherable, it seemed to me that the point was that her autism allowed her to absorb the fight skills of whomever she watched, and though the filmmakers couldn't afford to include clips from Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li movies in the film, I thought it was clear that - in addition to watching Tony Jaa movies, she had been watching Bruce's, Jackie's and Jet's. In the ice-house scene, she's clearly mimicking Bruce, just as she's clearly mimicking Jackie in the next scene with the locker doors and the knee-slide under the glass table. Then, in the next scene, she does some pole fighting that looks to be modeled after moves by Jet Li, and then, she starts doing some Tony Jaa knee and elbow work. She also defeats the spasmodic guy by almost instantly memorizing his style, and then she watches (her dad?) take on a bunch of baddies in a sword fight, and immediately picks up a couple of bludgeons, using them just as he did his sword.

In other words, I thought the mimicry was not only intentional, but intrinsic to the plot.
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6/10
Chocolate!
helmutty15 May 2008
The title had me mistaken it as some sort of movie relating about chocolate but it turned out to be a fighting thai movie directed by the guy behind Ong Bak. As a guy behind all the action-packed moves, you should know that this will be one hell of ride. Kicking and punching everywhere and smashing into people's heads. If that is the kind of action move you want, this one suits you very much.

The story is straightforward but in these kind of movies, we don't expect to have a complex story line but good action scenes. Though the story is boring or I don't even want to know the story but see action, I have to give credit to the fighting scenes, people get hurt for real as you see in the blooper like they bleed or got injured for real while making this movie. It is why when you look at the fighting scenes, they look real. The main character even had cuts on her face and bled. That is the thing I had to credit for, they all have the guts to make this movie. On the other hand, I don't know what to say about the director, either the director is crazy or he wants to make the fighting scenes look real. If it is either one, at least, the director has made the effort to make this movie.

Overall: It is okay for an action movie, at least I am thrilled with the fighting scenes and nothing else. I don't know what to comment on the story but it is an action movie, leave your brains at home when watching this or not you won't have fun.
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9/10
Holy Crap! I am happy I stumbled on this one! Wooooo! That was FUN!
pranakhan19 February 2010
Running out of free streaming horror films to watch via Netflix Instant Streaming on my blu-ray player, I went looking through other genres to find films to alleviate the boredom.

I've never heard of the director of this film or knew about his earlier masterpiece Ong-Bak. What caught my eye was, oddly, the title of the film as a martial arts movie. I looked deeper and saw the description was something about an austic female martial arts hero, and I just had to see what this was all about.

It is very difficult to have any kind of TRULY original idea anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't be original! The general "revenge, gangsters, romance, family" devices of Chocolate's plot are of course simply a variation/amalgamation of all kinds of Kung Fu movie standard plot templates, but that is not what is important.

When I started this film it ended up being the most beautifully planned and executed martial arts film I have ever seen, period! After it got me hooked on the plight of our autistic hero, struggling mother, and loving dumpy friend... the action started.

I sat, edge of my seat, mouth agape, staring with gleeful awe at the screen as the director, choreographer, and a petite yet fantastically athletic female star created the coolest, most beautiful, and POWERFUL display of human grace and martial arts technique I have ever seen in my freaking life! It action starts simple and subdued as it begins, fight after fight, to crescendo into increasingly complex martial arts and acrobatics in some of the most incredible environments until it peaks and you think you can stop to catch you're breath because, my god, how could they get ANY more amazing and cooler, when suddenly they do just that by slamming you into a climactic battle that swill blow you away.

And RESPECT! I realized that this action is REAL, visceral, HARD-EDGED, primal power with no wires through 98% of every stunt! This girl can float like a butterfly and sting like a freaking F-22 raptor! I've never seen such a cute petite woman smash more faces with elbows, knees, shins, and any other hard unforgiving part of the human body before. This style of fighting is truly face-smashing at its finest. These are NOT nice moves, and this is not some graceful hong kong kung fu flick dancing in the trees! This is kind of what it would look like if you wanted to, oh, jump 4 feet across the floor only feet above it and slam your hard high-velocity knee into the side of your opponents face as he struggles, dazed, to get to his feet. OUCH! Finally... originality at its finest. We care for this heroine, shes so adorable and sweet and "special!" We love this character, and her dumpy friend, and her mother who used to be a mobster but has those kind eyes and the heart to take in a bullied boy. The fact we love Zen only serves to make us thrill for her when she is in danger, and cheer for her when she breaks the various appendages of the types of people who would actually try to physically harm a sweet little innocent petite autistic girl who wouldn't hurt a soul, no way, so harmless! After that I can't express my emotions and feelings with words anymore. I'm soooo glad I'm human, cuz we have the coolest bodies and minds. Too bad I couldn't do even 2% of the moves in this movie without years upon years of endless disciplines training... if only I was autistic and could just learn by watching martial arts movies! Ooooooh that would be cooooool! You owe it to yourself to see this movie and love it.

Pranakhan
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10/10
Quality!!!!!!
searsy4 March 2009
Lets not quibble! This movie kick's arse in every-way! The fight scenes are the BEST I've seen EVER, Jeeja yanin spent 2 years in training for this movie! and it shows in every way, If Carlsberg made martial arts movies this would be the outcome. I have watched chocolate 3 times since i purchased it on Sunday.....I could watch it again and again! When my friends watched it i looked at their faces when Jeeja was kick in ass and their mouths were wide open! I have never seen fight scenes as intense and as emotional as the scenes in this movie! I will be keeping a close eye on Jeeja! i really want to know what she's doing next, 10 out of 10 every time!
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9/10
Wow !!! 10 years ago JeeJa Yanin Bowden's First Movie Came Out !!!
Crazy_Bruce18 November 2018
I was Blown Away by this movie 8 years ago !!! on DVD and eventually Blu-ray !!! This set the bar for a Female Martial Arts film a decade ago !!! So many action set pieces to enjoy !!! But the highlight is a fight taking place outside a Japanese restaurant on the rooftop involving 3 World Champion Muay Thai Boxers in their first film together !!! You have former WBC World Kickboxing Champion in 2 weight classes and Muay Thai Champion, "Oh" Sirimongkol Singwangcha , The Beautiful Fighter from South Korea , Lim Su Jeong , who has a long list of Muay Thai and Kickboxing titles held , and Dutch Singer/former Muay Thai Champion , Soumia Abalhaya or Abalhaja !!! These were not actors so JeeJa Yanin Bowden had to fight them for real and use Muay-Toung-Tia style !!!

If you can get it then I highly recommend the Cine-Asia UK Blu-ray of Chocolate !!! It beats the pants off of the US Blu-ray with the bare bones single special feature !!! The Cine-Asia Blu-ray is not region locked and you can play it on Region 1 Blu-ray Players !!! There are lots of special features and deleted scenes and outtakes !! One deleted scene even solves a mystery !!! There is a shot from the trailer of JeeJa in a long multi patterned dress kicking someone from a bed !! I never saw that in the movie , but I now know it was a deleted and not completed scene, showing what that scene was about !!!

JeeJa's latest film is Triple Threat and the plans are to release it in December of 2018 because I have waited 2 whole years for them to finally release it !!
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7/10
Female Tony Ja !
saptesh78611 October 2018
You can only describe it as words ' Lady Tony Ja' when see the movie. Just Imagine lady version of Tony Ja in his various movies like Ong Bak, The Protector etc This is the same here in 'Chocolate'. However, movie is watchable. Story at starting does not go understandable, then turn into family drama and again turn into action till the end. There are many unbelievable situations at fight sequences. Work by leading young girl is brilliant though it looks raw somewhere. It is an average movie only highlights of action scenes by young girl, Yanin. Story is not watchable to worth but Yanin is ! Must be seen for her only.
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7/10
JeeJa Yanin is a talent to watch in this brutal martial arts drama.
Abyss472 June 2013
JeeJa Yanin makes for one of the strongest and most believable heroines I've seen in an action film in a long, long time. On top of having screen presence and natural acting ability, she can kick some major ass without even breaking a sweat. Case in point.

"Chocolate" is full of dazzling fight sequences that are as brutal and hard-hitting as they are well choreographed and coherent. They get more and more creative as the film goes on before reaching a chaotic climax that takes full advantage of the actors' physical abilities.

The story is a dramatic one, dealing with Zen's (JeeJa Yanin) quest to get the money that is owed to her family by various gangs in order to pay for her dying mother's hospital bills. Zen has a problem of her own. She is autistic and emotionally unstable. She is able to use this to her advantage, though, as her reflexes are incredibly precise and more advanced than the average person's. She spends some of her time watching martial arts movies, and she's able to pick up on the various moves she sees in the film, which carries into her own move set.

I haven't read too deeply into the issue of autism, but the film seemed to treat it with care and respect; nothing came off as laughable.

The film's photography has a washed out look that I wasn't necessarily the biggest fan of, but I suppose it works in the long run, given the film's moody subject matter and melodrama.

Another thing I liked about the film was the severe lack of slapstick and goofy humor. I've seen to many martial arts films that are full of this sort of thing, and it usually comes off as more annoying than funny.

Director Prachya Pinkaew also made such martial arts flicks as Ong-bak and The Protector, which are somewhat modern classics in the Asian film community. I haven't seen them yet, but if they're as well put together as Chocolate, I see no reason why I would dislike them.

Despite the film's many strengths, it was hard for me to find it amazing. It's probably because I've already seen movies like this and was expecting something truly groundbreaking for the genre. Either way, it works.

JeeJa Yanin is undoubtedly the film's greatest assets, and it'll be interesting to see what future projects she takes on. Hopefully they take full advantage of her talents more often than not. Seeing her fight, I was reminded of past female martial arts experts such as Yukari Oshima (My personal favorite) and Moon Lee. She even has a similar look to these women. So it's great to see a somewhat younger version of them living up to their legacy.

Well, fans of the director's other work and martial arts films in general should give this a look, if only to witness a fresh new talent with a bright future ahead of her.
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8/10
Not the one with Johnny Depp
kosmasp7 June 2012
Don't confuse this movie with the one Johnny Depp did (same title). It is a completely different beast. If Ong Bak does ring a bell with you and/or you are a martial arts fan, than you will love this movie. Spectacular fight scenes, great choreography and overall some very crazy stunts to be seen in this one.

The story might not be the weakest in a movie of this kind too. I thought it served its purpose, nothing more, nothing less. The main actress really nailed it and if you watch the "outtakes" after/during the credits then you will know they actually did those things "for real" (well as real as humanly possible, with no regard to their own safety or health that is). Highly recommended
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