This Girl is Badass!! - Film Review

The last few years have seen the release of a number of Thai films hit Australian DVD shelves. The most notable of which would have to be Tony Jaa's Ong Bak, however, the success of Ong Bak's gritty, no holds barred action sequences has seen a proliferation of similarly focused films. Welcome, This Girl Is Badass!!

Jija Yanin (CHOCOLATE, RAGING PHOENIX) stars in this martial arts comedy about a girl whose family life is turned upside-down when she gets mixed up with some ruthless gangsters and is hired to transport smuggled goods for them. Things get tricky when she starts keeping a chunk of the mob's money. Like Yojimbo's samurai, she finds a way to play the rival mobsters off each other, but making enemies is becoming an increasingly dangerous business. - Madman

First things first, this isn't Ong Bak. There is nowhere near the ferociousness exhibited and comedy has a tendency to outweigh action sequences by about 10 to 1. That said, when the action switch is flipped, it is a tonne of fun. Yanin is no shrinking violet as her exploits in Chocolate and Raging Phoenix will attest. She really does "kick ass". The only complaint that can be made about this film (at risk of a snap kick to the head, might I add), is that the action scenes are too few and far between. That said, what it lacks in action it makes up for in laughs.

As Mum Jokmok proved in Ong Bak, Thai humour isn't necessarily high-brow and the same kind of humour prevails in This Girl is Badass!! This should come as no surprise with Mum Jokmok in the directors chair. Whether it's a team of butch/ultra feminine enforcers, Yanin's creepy stalker or her own dorky faces, the silliness is a common thread throughout the film. Unfortunately, these comedy sequences have a tendency to run a bit long. Case in point, the final scene which should no doubt be an all out action assault but instead seems to be a last ditch effort to squeeze as many characters in as possible.

Although it may not be as action packed as Ong Bak or as funny as Shaolin Soccer, This Girl is Badass!! manages to strike a reasonably good balance of both and is a great film to watch when you're not sure what you want to watch. If it's straight up action that you're after, Chocolate or Raging Phoenix would probably be a better option. No matter how you look at it, Janin is a rising star and we can only hope that Madman will pick up her next film, The Kick, for a local release.

I may not have seen any Vietnamese, Cambodian or Laos films, but I can say that after Ong Bak, This Girl is Badass!! and Indonesia's The Raid I can say that these are exciting times in Southeast Asian cinema. Just as the title says, This Girl is Badass!!

This Girl is Badass!! is available now from Madman!

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