'Saturday Killer'

Lovelorn melancholia is blended with bawdy humor in the entertaining if uneven Thai comedy "Saturday Killer."

Lovelorn melancholia is blended with bawdy humor in the entertaining if uneven Thai comedy “Saturday Killer.” Released last October, when it made a respectable amount of coin, this is actually the second installment of a projected trilogy from writer-helmer Yuthlert Sippapak, but the first pic, “Friday Killer,” was held back after the producers decided that “Saturday” would make a better kickstart for the franchise. Like its technical predecessor, pic features a comedian cast as an assassin, this time tubby Chusak Miemsuk as a master of disguise crippled by premature ejaculation. International travels will be confined to genre-themed fests.

Opening scene shows Beatle-wigged sniper Tee Rifle (Miemsuk) lingering in an alley, indecisive about whether he should kill shapely dance teacher Chris (Cris Horwang) or her aggressive b.f. Ake (Prinya Rhunprapan) as they settle down for a nightcap. Post-credits, a flashback shows Tee Rifle visiting a prostitute he’s more interested in chatting with than sleeping with; when the prostitute touches his shoulder, a wacky sound effect supplies the explanation. Outrageous and hilarious phallocentric gags that would make Judd Apatow blush soon follow as Tee Rifle tries to cure his condition.

Delightful, sometimes jaw-dropping vulgarity persists throughout, alternating with an account of Tee Rifle’s romantic longing for the gorgeous Chris, whom he meets in a bar. The hitman’s yearning is further complicated when he’s hired to kill the organizers of the Green Shirts, a political party led by Chris’ father (Suchao Phongvilai), which only marbles his desire for Chris with guilt. Meanwhile, Chris and her best buddy, Moey (Phitchanat Sakhakon, set to be the lead in the upcoming “Sunday Killer”) are trying to track down the assassin of the Green Shirts, not realizing Tee Rifle and their prey are one and the same.

The screenplay seesaws between below-the-belt gags and scenes of comic lovesickness, mercilessly skewering Thai political divisions along the way. Towards the end, Sippapak also inserts a crazy mass-shootout sequence that also appears in “Friday Killer,” where it’s even more superfluous to the narrative’s ends; fans can expect the same sequence to appear once more in “Sunday Killer,” as it’s the only real link between the two existing films.

Though he’s more comfortable with groin jokes than with melancholy, helmer Sippapak (who also directed the “Buppah Rahtree” franchise) ably juggles the pic’s twin threads. Led by the rotund Miemsuk, thesps all hit their marks; supporting comedians include Bangkok-based Ghanaian funny man Joey Chernyim and Supapit Kokphon, both adding solid, rib-tickling support. Moments in which the thesps break up on camera add an enjoyable spontaneity.

Saturday Killer

Thailand

Production

A Phranakorn Film presentation of a Mahagan Pictures production in association with Phranakorn Film. (International sales: Phranakorn Film, Bangkok.) Produced by Thawatchai Phanpakdee, Yuthlert Sippapak. Executive producers, Vichai Thanarungroj, Thanapol Thanarungroj. Directed, written by Yuthlert Sippapak.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Tiwa Moeithaisong; editor, Tawat Siripong; music, Origin Kampanee; production designer, Sarayut Phumprao; art director, Kacha Ruangthong; sound (Dolby Digital), Samak Buapradit. Reviewed at Shanghai Film Festival (Global Village), June, 17, 2011. (Also in PiFan Film Festival.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Chusak Miemsuk, Cris Horwang, Suchao Phongvilai, Phitchanat Sakhakon, Prinya Rhunprapan, Supapit Kokphon, Joey Chernyim. (Thai, English dialogue)
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