Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jukkalan (This Girl is Bad-Ass!!) (2011)

Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from netflix instant.

A teen bike messenger named Jukkalan (JeeJa Yanin) and her well-meaning uncle (Petchtai Wongkamlao) find themselves in a heap of trouble when Jukkalan is hired to transport goods and money for warring gangster factions. She steals their money but keeps working for them (or something?) and soon tons of grunts are attacking her every second. Meanwhile a nerdy neighbor is trying to date her, but she has her eyes set on a different, hunkier neighbor. Hormones and high kicks fly around everywhere in This Girl is Bad-Ass!!.

So. Bike messengers. Martial arts. JeeJa Yanin. A title about a girl being a badass. THIS MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXCELLENT. But mostly it was just totally stupid, nonsensical, and boring. The script has no direction, I had no idea what was happening half the time, and when I did it was probably because some dumb, juvenile subplot was happening that I definitely didn't care about. The comedy is extremely broad and hokey, and every scene seems to extend a minute longer than it needs to so the jokes are beaten into the ground. Speaking of beating, even the action sequences aren't satisfying! They try to do this martial-arts-with-a-bike fight style and it definitely sounds better in theory than in practice. A few of the later fight scenes are pretty cool, with JeeJa Yanin using various found objects to beat the shit out of some gangster henchmen, and I do just really like watching her work. She's not a very good actress here, though, and her character is vapid and annoying. Most of the characters are cartoon caricatures, which makes sense since this is supposed to be a comedy, but maybe I just don't quite follow a Thai sense of humor. The only person who actually made me laugh was the bike messenger boss, who dressed in ridiculous outfits, had foot-long eyebrows, and rode around on a bumpy horse toy.

It's not like it's worst movie in the world or anything, it just doesn't live up to its premise's potential. And there's a bit of homophobia towards the end. I did dig several action scenes, and was pleased to see a badass lady fighter at the center of a story that didn't sexualize or victimize her at all. But you could just watch the scattered battle scenes and you'd probably be ok, it's not like the context made much sense to me while I was actually watching the movie anyway. Here's one on youtube.

2/5

Pair This Movie With: I don't know. More like a "Watch Instead" I think. I would revisit Chocolate, which also stars JeeJa Yanin and has some excellent fight sequences but the subject matter is kind of off. Or Premium Rush for more bike messengers?

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