Starring: Panna Rittikrai, Tony Jaa
Director: Panna Rittikrai
1994 | 85 Minutes | Unrated
“Are you going to tell the village chief? Go tell him in Hell!” – Dr. Duong
This is billed as Tony Jaa’s first movie but his appearance is very brief. The DVD case would certainly lead you to believe otherwise but Panna Rittikrai (Jaa’s mentor) is the real star here.
The story begins, as most stories do, with a Thai voodoo doctor named Dr. Duong performing a ceremony to turn 5 strangers into immortals who will never age. After 2 of the strangers pay him and drink the immortality potion, they die and the other 3 run away from Dr. Duong. Duong kills 2 but one is able to make it back to the village to get some villagers to chase down Dr. Duong. The chief and his men seemingly kill Dr. Duong and dump him in a river. The story progresses forward but, seeing as how I can’t read Thai, I don’t know how far forward. Another man emerges (Panna Rittikrai) who appears to be as dangerous as Dr. Duong starts attacking people and various people try to stop him. Eventually Dr. Duong comes back as well. So now there are 2 seemingly unstoppable immortal warriors on the loose who need to be stopped. A vacationing Japanese family and a treasure hunting group (complete with what is intended to be a comedic mute) are also introduced for no other reason than to be fodder for the Spirited Killer & Dr. Duong. Truthfully, not much of a story. The story is basically a vehicle to carry the martial arts scenes.
To be fair, it is hard to judge the acting when you don’t know the original language that the movie was filmed in but I am still going to say it was poorly acted. Every character except for Dr. Duong and the Spirited Killer are way over acted. It is done in a way that is supposed to be funny to the viewer. I wasn’t laughing. The only part that got a laugh out of me was the very, very last scene. I will let you see it your self
The fight choreography is generally well done. Nothing is as flashy as Ong Bak or The Protector but there is no crazy wire work or special effects. Everything is pretty believable. There is an occasional shot where a foot comes from off screen to strike someone in the face. These always come off as a little cheesy and remind me of the old late night martial arts movies that used to play on cable tv.
There is nothing in the way of special effects to speak of. Special effects really aren’t needed and I am glad they didn’t attempt any, they surely would have ended up looking like crap. The blood effects look good though.
Spirited Killer was worth watching but I probably won’t be revisiting it any time soon All of the characters are annoying and for the most part you are just waiting to see how Dr. Duong or the Spirited Killer are going to kill them off. . The martial arts are the main reason to watch but there are much better martial arts movies out there. If you are a huge martial arts fan or you feel like you just have to see everything Tony Jaa is in it is worth your time, otherwise most will be content in skipping it.