Hard Gun (1996)
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Audience Reviews for Hard Gun
No, not a hardcore gay porno film, but an early film by Tony Jaa... well actually he appears in it for only a couple minutes here and there, but there's lots to love about this one.
The Thai sense of humour is peculiar to North Americans, hell I would imagine it's pretty weird to Thai folks as well. The comedy in this film is hilarious. Funny faces when people get hit in the nuts, the dude who beats his wife (believe me, though he nearly kills her, he's so over the top you'll be howling) and the toothless comic relief. Tony Jaa and his boss Panna Rittikrai are villains tracking down a former cop to seek revenge. The final fight between Jaa and the cop are great, but I really leave this film remembering how funny it was. The final scene is a classic in bizarre humour.
This film is just as bad as the reviews have made it out to be- and more. Also, everything in the synopsis is pretty much a lie. Tony Jaa IS in this movie, Panna Rittikrai IS in this movie, but Jaa has a bit part as a lackey to the head bad guy (and he's in this for maybe 15 minutes tops, anyway), and it is Rittikrai who plays the main villain, he DOES NOT play the cop. Panna handles the fight/stunt sequences (if you can call it that- these scenes look like they were super8 backyard videos you would make with your friends when you were kids or something, hardly the standard of later stuff like 'Born to Fight' or 'Chocolate.' I know Rittikrai was supposed to be a pioneer for Thai action, but gawd), but the director is some dude named Prapon Petchinn, and the main character is played by some guy named Jai Janmulltree.
This is as far from "gritty" and "intense" as you can find. Long story short, Rittikrai wants blood because super cop took out his adopted brother in a shootout. There's one action sequence at the beginning, and there's nothing for literally an hour until towards the last 20 minutes or so. The rest is bad Thai comedy, as our hero and his family spend most of their time gambling or playing soccer against the local wife beater and his crew. The tone is uneven at best, but it's definitely not a downer. It's kind of like watching the worst of Wong Jing or Steven Chow, but with nothing to chuckle at and all the charm sucked out and you're just left with utter, head-scratching bullshit.
I know the Thai movie industry was pretty much in its infancy when this movie was made (1996), but this is ridiculous. This movie was made in 1996. You could've fooled me. I thought it was made in 1976, from the wardrobe and look of this movie. The soundtrack was kind of funny- it was a bizarre mix of this instrumental cheesy 80s hair metal and show tunes. I don't know if it's the original Thai score or if the company changed it. Just strange, strange shit and inappropriate.
I really tried to appreciate this for what it was: a selection of the type of movie that inspired Jaa to become an action star, but I couldn't sit through this with a straight face or with my jaw closed. I was just flabbergasted by how cheap and boring it was- and I'm a fan of cheapness as long as its gloriously cheesy and entertaining. This was neither. It was what you would call in Thai, mai weilaa, "a waste of time."
Jaa easily outshines everybody else in this movie in the five minute fight scene he's alloted at the end, but that's not enough to save this from mediocrity and the urge to rather be tied up in a room, sitting through 'Cyborg Soldier' on endless loop with my eyes taped open. Most importantly, everybody in this movie looks gross and stinky. I would've given this half a star, but the title just screams hardcore Steven Geoffreys gay porn (Butt Blazer anyone?), and is perhaps the only bright spot about this massive mai wehlaa. As was the case when Jackie Chan made it back to our shores in the late 90s, Tony Jaa's success has ensured that the many cheap films he had bit parts in back in the 90s will show up here in the states with completely misleading titles, synopses, and attempts by unscrupulous video companies at making out with as much of our cash as possible till we wise up. As long as they're going to be released, I'll sit through them so you don't have to. Some will be better than others, obviously. Stay far away from this and wait for 'Ong Bak 2' to come out in theaters later this year thanks to our friends at Magnolia Pictures.
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