Thai Kung Fu Flick Coming to Western Theaters

The 2005 martial arts action flick Tom Yum Goong appears to be headed for Western theaters; its new title is The Protector. You can watch the trailer here. The film features Thai celluloid star Tony Jaa. Why it is, precisely, that the flick is named after one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes remains a mystery.

From the promo copy:

His world shaped by ancient traditions, a young Thai fighter (Jaa) is called upon to defend his people and their honor after outsiders invade their home and destroy all that is sacred.Fueled by desire to protect a way of life and avenge the wrong done to his family, he will bring the fight to their city.

The real question: Tony Jaa vs. Rambo. Who wins?

Nicholas Cage Visits Bangkok

Bangkok Dangerous

First Sly Stallone sets his sights on Bangkok, and now Nicholas Cage — the man who famously named his son Kal-el, after Superman’s birth name — is up in Krungthep.

Seems Nick is here filming a re-make of the 1999 flick “Bangkok Dangerous.” Apparently the film will be called “Time to Kill” (not to be confused with the 1996 crapfest “A Time to Kill”).

According to the Wikipedia page for the new movie:

The original film’s main character is a deaf-mute whose disability makes him a fearless, unflinching gunman. That character will be changed in the remake.

“We’d like to keep him the same, but we understand that from a marketing point of view Nic needs to have some lines,” Oxide was quoted as saying in the International Herald Tribune. “So what we’re going to do is transform his girlfriend instead into a deaf-mute. This switch will maintain the drama of communication between the two main characters.”

Cage’s character’s girlfriend will be portrayed by Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung, who is preparing for her role by learning Thai dance and sign language.

In addition, Cage’s character will have a local “errand boy” with whom he develops a bond. That role will be portrayed by Thai film and television actor Chakrit Yamnam.

Indeed, I can confirm that filming occurred Sunday evening on Soi Cowboy, one of the Big Mango’s most popular red light districts. I wasn’t there, but a pal was picked to be an extra, a gig which required him to sit in a girl bar from 4 p.m. until 4 a.m.


Rambo: Coming to Bangkok (and Burma)

Hide the women and children.

Bangkok bad guys: run for the hills.

Rambo is coming to the Land of Smiles.

Filming for “Rambo IV” starts October 1st in Bangkok, baby. Who will (a now nearly geriatric) Sly Stallone be hunting down and killing like the vile pigs they are? None other than the Burmese military junta! This EW story is full of gems. Stallone, in making this new film, had to figure out who to slaughter (apparently an idea hatched in 2002, in which Sly would head to Afghanistan to take out Osama Bin Laden was scuttled):

‘You know, it’s hard,” says the 60-year-old star. ”Politics have changed so much. Who do we fight? The Finns? You can’t do that. The Dutch? That’s not gonna work. Wooden shoes are not gonna look cool.’

Sly Stallone: stand up comedian! He’ll be here all week, folks. Be sure to tip your waitresses.

Stallone may be joking, but finding Rambo a fresh foe was actually a serious problem for the Nu Image/ Millennium Films production. After ruling out the Mideast, Africa, and Korea, the actor finally hit on a solution. ”I called Soldier of Fortune magazine and said, ‘What is the most critical man-doing-inhumanity-to-man situation right now in the world? Where is it?”’ The answer was Burma.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’m jonesing for information on international human rights crises, my resource of choice is Soldier of Fotune magazine. Those pantywaists at Amesty International? Lilly-livered pinko eggheads, the whole lot!

So, the script that emerged — a ”first draft” Stallone has written with Art Monterastelli (The Hunted) — finds Rambo living a monastic lifestyle in Bangkok and salvaging old PT boats and tanks for scrap metal. (”It’s like he’s stripping himself down,” says the actor, pensively. ”That old piece of military equipment.”) When a group of volunteers bringing supplies into Burma disappears, a relative of one of the missing missionaries begs Rambo to find them. He heads off with a team of young guns, a plot point required by the financiers, who wanted to hedge against Rambo’s possible mono-generational appeal.

When I walk through the streets of Bangkok, I am struck by two things: 1) the countless retired Green Berets I see living monastic lifestyles, and 2) the preponderance of old PT boats and tanks lying around — you can’t swing a dead cat on Sukhumvit road without hitting discarded military hardware!

I cannot wait to see this movie.


Keep Your Things Safe It Will

The Yoda Backpack

The Yoda plush backpack. Hilarious.

“Withnail and I”

I’d resolved to post, in this space, only items related to my travels. But last night I had occasion to view one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, and I’ll go nuts if I can’t share it with you all.

“Withnail and I” isn’t a new movie, but it’s new to me. The British cult classic, released in 1987 but set in late 60’s-era London, is a madcap tale about two unemployed actor friends. Here’s a list of quotes (warning: explicit language), though I fear it won’t make for especially amusing reading unless you’ve seen the movie.

Brokeback Top Gun

This year’s sleeper hit: Brokeback Top Gun. You saw it here first.

“Eight-year-olds, Dude”

How come no one told me that the entire “Big Lebowski” screenplay is available online as a text file?! I need to know these things.



I saw “Syriana” last night, which is writer/director Stephen Gaghan’s attempt to do for geo-political oil-related power brokering and international espionage what his film “Traffic” did for America’s war on drugs: i.e. shed light on an unexamined world and explose it warts and all.

Clooney as a hard-bitten CIA spook steals the show. And without revealing any spoilers, I’ll just say the flick contains a vivid monologue defending corruption — “corruption is what keeps us from eating scraps of meat in the street,” says a smarmy lobbyist — that people will be quoting for years to come.

If you’ve seen the film and, like me, you need some help deciphering the complex storyline, the Wikipedia entry for the film is a decent resource.


New Movie About Expats in Korea

“Expats” is a soon-to-be-released movie about Western foreigners living in Pusuan, South Korea. The film will star Chris Klein (pictured). Here’s the plot summary.

(Via Ni Howdy.)