Dynamite Warrior review by Drunky

Our tale begins in rural Thailand about 100 years ago. A bad dude by the name of Lord Wang is trying to sell the new Western import: the tractor. When its expensive price doesn’t draw any takers with the local farmers to replace their trusted cattle, Lord Wang decides to force the matter by stealing any cattle in the area and selling them off to outgoing traders. Meanwhile, a mysterious hero with powerful fighting skills and plenty of homemade rockets (hence ‘Dynamite’ Warrior) is attacking those same cattle traders searching for the trader who killed his parents. He then gives the cattle to the deprived farmers. Our hero will come to discover that his parents’ killer is a powerful wizard.

I’ve got to give the producers of Dynamite Warrior credit for one thing: they know how to release a good trailer. Somewhere on the internet I previewed this movie and thought to myself: “Wow a kung-fu style flick juiced up with a little more flair, some fresh moves via Muay Thai kickboxing, and sweet-looking addition of special-effects. Sign me up!”

Then I hit ‘play’ on that DVD player. “Oh no,” I said aloud as the realization of disappointment struck. “Oh NO,” again moments later.

The best way to describe the experience that began as Dynamite Warrior is that it’s like a cartoon that’s performed by live actors. This is a flick from Thailand so you’ve got English voiceovers – which are performed poorly. But it’s painfully obvious that the acting is every bit as awful in the native Thai. The casting is frequently so dubious that I got the sense that the son of the producer gathered up all his buddies and announced “who wants to play the main bad guy?,” and so on. The result was like a bad episode of Mighty Mophin Power Rangers. If they cut out all the gore and marketed this movie to kids, they might have an audience.

Sure he’s got a bloody mouth, but he’s still not in as much pain as those of us on the other side of the TV glass.

It tries romance – and fails. It tries comedy – and fails miserably. I almost didn’t make it past the halfway mark in this movie. And – here comes the odd about-face kiddies – that would have been a shame. The final quarter of this film is one giant fight/action scene and it is one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen. The pacing of the action is excellent, the special effects work, the fighting is innovative and energetic, and the stunts had me presuming that some bones were broken in the making of this movie. Did they have an entirely different production team working on the first three-fourths of the film?

The Muay Thai style in this flick is a badass fighting form that translates well to the big screen. Plenty of knees, flying knees, elbows – it’s all pretty fresh stuff as its use thus far in action movies has been almost non-existent. When it has been used it’s from films produced in Thailand – Muay Thai’s birthplace. Ong Bak is one example (this film apparently comes from same ‘makers’ incidentally). I for one would like to see more of it. I wonder if it too much to ask for an American production using it because I’d love to see it without suffering dubbed voices.

Finally somebody mixed martial arts with rockets.

A more consistent allocation of the quality of production could have made this a great watch, there are parts here that I may rate close to a 10, but many parts that rate closer to a 1. The early-goings are so bad I would guess that many viewers might bail on this movie before the better parts kick in. But for any martial arts film fan – and, to a lesser extent, hardcore fans of action - that extensive final battle scene is a must-see.

4 out of 10 Jackasses
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