A dead-on-target Thai comedy about a hitman with bad luck, "Friday Killer" moves from raucous irreverence to touching sensitivity on a dime.
A dead-on-target Thai comedy about a hitman with bad luck, “Friday Killer” moves from raucous irreverence to touching sensitivity on a dime. Helmer-scripter Yuthlert Sippapak’s finely tuned effort is the first installment of a proposed trilogy that can be entered at any point, and is in fact being released locally after its sequel, “Saturday Killer,” which performed respectably in October. Pic ought to do boffo biz in Thailand, and its broad humor, including jabs at Quentin Tarantino, will go over well at genre fests, though its politically incorrect streak may inhibit wider distribution.
A bald, myopic assassin whose weapon of choice is an AK-47, Pay Uzi (Suthep Po-ngam) is released from prison after 28 years of incarceration. On his way out, he receives a letter from an old flame, written on her deathbed, which reveals he has a daughter. Nevertheless, Pay Uzi is met at the prison gate not by a new family, but by a knife-wielding thug sent by corrupt politician (Arnake Intajan) who wants to keep the hitman quiet about old scores.
Keeping a low profile while he recovers from his knife wounds, Pay Uzi spies on the house where his daughter, SWAT team officer Dao (Ploy Jindachot), lives with her femme lover (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) and the man (Kovit Wattanakul) whom Dao thinks of as her father. Before he has a chance to reveal himself, Pay Uzi witnesses Dao’s stepfather sexually assaulting her blindfolded g.f. and heroically intervenes. Unfortunately, Pay Uzi ends up being blamed for the rape and the death of Dao’s “dad,” and finds himself on the run from the police, his own vengeful daughter and political crooks.
One subplot allows for pointed references to contempo Thai politics, but Sippapak never lets serious intentions get in the way of bawdy slapstick, verbal jousting or jokey references to “Kill Bill.” While the story gets lost in the climactic chaos of an inevitable shootout, the script manages to retain a strong emotional component thoughout.
Lead thesp is spendidly deadpan as the gun-for-hire often mistaken for none other than Thai comedian Suthep Po-ngam. Jindachot is effective as silky action heroine Dao, while the rest of the ensemble mostly operates in a broadly comic register. Chubby, cross-eyed thesp Hedpor Chernyim stops the show with a hilarious cameo as a gangster’s moll who objects to being called a “fat whore.”
Helming has the characteristic looseness of Thai laffers, but Sippapak also mimics the sleek style of international crime thrillers. Tiwa Moeithaisong’s HD lensing, which received an award at the Shanghai fest, takes full advantage of the beauty of the beaches in Thailand’s Chanthaburi province, but is also easy on the eyes in urban settings.
Score by Origin Kampanee underlines the dramatic sequences with emphatic drums, and serves to quicken the pace along with Tawat Siripong’s snappy editing. Other tech credits are typical of Thai genre films.