Action Movie Fanatix Review: Born to Fight

Starring: Dan Chupong, Noppol Gomarachun, Suntisuk Phromsiri, Piyapong Pue-On, Somluck Kamsing, Amornthep Waewsaeng, Suebsak Phunsueb, Nantawat Wongwanichsilp, Kessarin Ektawatkul, Rattanaporn Khemtong, Cattapong Phantana-Angkul, Sinee Namwongphrom

Director: Panna Rittikrai

2004  |  96 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“Noooooooooo!” – Deaw

I have really been getting into these Dragon Dynasty releases lately.  It seems like it may be too late for my purchases to be of any help to them as they haven’t had a new release in a few years now but that doesn’t prevent me from collecting what has already been released and having a ton of fun watching them.  Born to Fight is not only a Dragon Dynasty release but it is also directed by Panna Rittikrai, the director of many Tony Jaa classics so it was one that I had wanted to pick up anyway.

Deaw (Dan Chupong) is a Thai police officer.  He captures a notable gun smuggler, General Yang but loses his partner in the mission.  Deaw accompanies his sister and a few other athletes to a small remote village to deliver food and toys to the villagers.  When the village is attacked by nuclear terrorists, Deaw leads the athletes in a fight to save their country.

Yep, the plot is goofy as hell.  A cop, a taekwondo practitioner, Rugby player, soccer player, a wicker ball player (wtf) and two gymnasts defeat an entire terrorist organization who have decided to invade a tiny meaningless Thai village to launch their nuclear missile from rather than just launching it from wherever they were prior to this.

Prior to the athletes going to the village is a shoot out between multiple guys on top of multiple semi trucks speeding down a dirt road resulting in some crazy stunt work on top of and falling off of the trucks.  And, of course, no CGI or wires needed.  I loved it!

When the athletes arrive in the village the pacing really slows down and lost me for a bit.  For a movie that is basically a glorified stunt reel they spent a lot of time building to the actual stunt work.

The action from here on out is really just a series of shots of these athletes using their “special sets of skills” to take out the bad guys.  The taekwondo girl’s skills really lend well to this but the rest are overly set up to make for a realistic action movie.  The rugby player just plows guys over, which I guess works.  The soccer player kicks anything he can find into the heads of his enemies.  The gymnasts find wooden parallel bars and other gymnastic type equipment that apparently naturally exists in this village.  I’m being a little overly critical because the stunts are really, really well done but in the end they are just that… stunts.  They are not action or fight sequences by any stretch of the imagination.

Any time Dan Chupong’s police officer character, Deaw (pronounced Dee-aaaaahhh), is fighting, though, it is a completely different story.  He is an expert Muay Thai fighting stuntman.

I watched the movie with the English dubbing turned on but it really wouldn’t have made much of a difference.  There are very few lines in the movie that it wouldn’t have made a lick of a difference if they were expertly delivered or not.  Most of Chupong’s lines are “raaaaahhh”, “aaaaah” or well that is actually pretty much it.

Funny thing is, I was making many of the same sounds as Chupong as I watched this movie.  “Oooooo!”  “Oooohhh!”  “Yessss!”  Even though I am knocking the action a little the stunt work is out of this world insane.  The credits show a number of the stunts from different angles and sort of shows how they did each one but a lot of the time it is still just a matter of awesome stuntmen risking their lives for some awesome shots.

All in all, Born to Fight is a fun watch but it never truly engages the viewer other than the fascination with the stunts and unfortunately I don’t think the stunts alone are enough to bring me back to watch it again.  I might pop it in and watch a couple specific scenes but never the full movie again.  It’s really disappointing because Ong Bak and The Protector are both movies that I have watched many times each.  It just didn’t live up to my hopes for it.