Stella Malucchi

Winner of the Vancouver Fest's Dragons & Tigers Asian-pic competish, "Fa Talai Jone" is a huge hit in Thailand, and it's easy to see why, given the affectionate spoofing of cowboy and soap genres mixed with chopsocky mayhem. But this stew won't curry much favor elsewhere, as its qualities are a bit too overstated to go down easily with offshore auds.

Winner of the Vancouver Fest’s Dragons & Tigers Asian-pic competish, “Fa Talai Jone” is a huge hit in Thailand, and it’s easy to see why, given the affectionate spoofing of cowboy and soap genres mixed with chopsocky mayhem. But this stew won’t curry much favor elsewhere, as its qualities are a bit too overstated to go down easily with offshore auds.

Color-saturated pic, sometimes as ’50s-kitschy as a “Toy Story” seg, centers on handsome bandit Black Tiger (Chartchai Ngamsan), who’s in love with a high-born lady (Stella Malucchi) — a union made more difficult since her wealthy dad plans to marry her off to the cop in charge of wiping out Tiger’s forest-dwelling gang. Gang members are not exactly Robin Hoods, and the pic’s attitude toward these cut-throat thieves is ambiguous, as in many Thai shoot-‘em-ups. (Thai title means something like “Heaven Gets the Bad Guy.”) Here, dynamic is complicated by the Tom Mix chaps, gaudy sunsets and Western-style songs, which suggest a gentility that doesn’t always fit easily with people’s heads being blown off in full Dolby-ized glory. Pic is fun, if finally too silly.

Fa Talai Jone

Thailand

Production

An Aichi Arts Center (Tokyo) production. Produced by Nonzee Nimibutr. Executive producers, Pracha Maleenoni, Brian Marcar, Adirek Wattaleela.

Crew

Directed, written by Wisit Sasanatieng. Camera (color), Nattawat Kittikhun; editor, Dusanee Puinongpho; music, Amornpong Methakunawut; production design, Ake Aimchuen; art directors, Akradech Kaew Kotr, Rutchanon Kayangnan; costume designer, Chaiwichit Somoboon. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (competing), Oct. 5, 2000. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Chartchai Ngamsan, Stella Malucchi, Supakorn Kitsuwon, Arawat Ruangvuth, Sombatl, Pairoj Jaisingha, Naiyana Sheewanun, Kanchit Kwanpracha, Chamloen Sridang.
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