>*edit 05/02/06 01:33* (added link to youtube.com clip of Crowder/Jaa scene)
As I mentioned a while back, I did finally get a copy of ต้มยำกุ้ง(Tom Yum Goong) (and yeah, I’m also playing around with ruby markup if you haven’t noticed, which you might not, if your browser doesn’t support it).
This was last Tuesday–and yeah I watched it right out of the package–from my brother, who also sent me lots of โบตัน(Botan) which I’m surprised that I like, since I really don’t like black licorice at all.
But anyway, back to Tom Yum Goong. Yes, I enjoyed it. Was it “better” (whatever that means) than Ong-Bak? Well, yes and no. It was basically the same story: country boy loses artifact/elephant; country boy goes to big city/country and is out of his element; country boy kicks major ass and gets back artifact/elephant. That’s the short version. I’m not going to post more than some initial impressions (and I had meant to post this last week, but just got lazy and busy) so some spoilers to follow.
What was better.
Well, fight choreography was a bit smoother. There wasn’t the excessive usage of repeated-different-angle shots or slow-mo shots. This was nice, as those just broke the flow of the scenes in Ong-Bak. If anything, Tom Yum Goong went to the other extreme with a couple of phenomenally staged long (in duration) shots. The nearly four minute fight sequence up the Guggenheimesque stairway/balcony to the illegal restaurant was breathtaking and a welcome change from the Western montage-esque cut-n-paste scenes that are familiar to fans of some recent HK kung fu and wuxia pian films.
What editing was done with the fight choreography was exceptionally well done and the flow was even rather than eclectic and spastic flow of Chinese MA films or the (sometimes) tedious long/silent with burst of preternatural action of Japanese MA films.
What was not better.
There were fewer characteristically Southeast Asian kickboxing moves in the choreography, sadly. So the knees, elbows, clinching, and teeb kicks were nowhere near as prominent as they were in Ong-Bak. So the stylistic differences between the antagonists that use Chinese MA and Kham weren’t nearly as evident as I would have liked.
The next to last fight scene played out as a “how many different ways can Kham break and disfigure his opponents” than anything else. Sure, the first few make you wince, but after 20 or so opponents being downed in this manner it just got a tiny bit tedious.
The editing in general (outside the fight scenes) was absolutely horrendous. Some of it made no sense at all, and i won’t go into any detail here. If you see it, you’ll easily know what I’m talking about (even if you can’t understand Thai).
I don’t know if I’m going to even bother posting more about this in the future. Sure, I’m probably going to break down some of the notable fight scenes into Labanotation since I’m doing some cross-cultural comparisons of movement styles, but other than that, this post may be all I say about this Tom Yum Goong.