Bang Rajan

2004

Bang Rajan

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,130
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Bang Rajan Photos

Movie Info

This historical drama from Thailand is based on one of the key historical events in that nation's history. In 1765, Siam (as Thailand was known at that time) was being invaded by Burmese troops, and only one thing stood in the way of the Burmese army seizing control of the capitol city of Ayudhaya -- the tiny village of Bang Rajan. Despite the strength of the advancing Burmese forces, the people of Bang Rajan were determined to fight back, and Taen (Chumphorn Thepphithak) leads a band of villagers who have pledged to face down the enemy. When Taen is severely wounded in an early skirmish with the Burmese, the people of Bang Rajan are forced to turn to Chan Nhatkeo (Jaran Ngamdee), a battle-hardened soldier of fortune who lives alone in the nearby wilderness. Chan Nhateko, understanding the seriousness of the situation, brings in a handful of colleagues, and with their help the people of Bang Rajan prepare to fight the larger and better equipped Burmese army to a standstill. Bang Rajan was shot on a relatively lavish budget ($1.3 million, roughly the cost of four average Thai productions), and proved to be a blockbuster attraction at home, eventually grossing $9 million to become the biggest home-grown moneymaker in the history of the Thai film industry.

Cast

Critic Reviews for Bang Rajan

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (9)

  • The battle scenes are bloody, visceral, and expertly edited.

    Mar 18, 2010 | Full Review…
  • It's far too bloody for the art house crowd and too leisurely paced and obscure for more general audiences.

    Sep 29, 2004
  • Jitnukul can direct action, and every slice of the blade, thwack of the arrow and the glistening of sweat on near-naked bodies makes Bang Rajan a mostly pleasurable diversion.

    Sep 24, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a humid, rough-edged epic that occasionally finds startling beauty amid devastating carnage.

    Sep 17, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Features scrumptious-looking jungle battles, with a cast of thousands -- not to mention elephants and water buffalo.

    Sep 10, 2004 | Rating: 3/4
  • While co-writer/director Tanit Jitnukul's vision is unapologetically graphic and slightly marred by an artistic awkwardness, this is a rare and worthwhile glimpse into another nation's historical legend.

    Sep 10, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Bang Rajan

  • Apr 12, 2011
    Thailand is fast making a name for itself in the International film market thanks to the success of a certain Mr Jaa in a film called Ong Bak. If you are reading this review, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that you will know exactly what I'm on about and will be nodding your head in agreement, smiling to yourself as you recall the head-splintering chaos that that martial arts thrill ride provided us with but despite all it's successes, Ong Bak really was quite a low budget feature and it's limitations were plain to see. Bang Rajan however is an entirely different kettle of fish. It is not another martial arts movie but a war film set in the 18th century and having been made several years previously, was Thailand's first major attempt to secure its reputation as a movie-making rival to the likes of Hollywood and Hong Kong. And unlike the Tony Jaa star vehicle, it has the budget behind it to stand toe-to-toe with any of its rivals. Set just before the fall of Thailand's old capital city Ayuttaya to the invading Burmese army, the film tells the story of the people of Bang Rajan, a large village that despite insurmountable odds stood up to the approaching horde. With legions of soldiers marching on their doors, the untrained, poorly equipped and vastly outnumbered villagers still managed to give the Burmese a brutal lesson in Thai hospitality and their story has become a popular example of patriotism in their home country, so needless to say the transition to screen makes for a rip-roaring war film. To this end, director Tanit Jitnukul resists the urge to focus on solitary figures and instead concentrates on a small number of characters from various backgrounds to represent the Bang Rajan community. There's Taen; the elderly leader who is injured early on in the running time but still manages to be a significant player in the proceedings, Chan; the jungle warrior who succeeds Taen and becomes the figurehead of their resistance, Inn; a younger warrior who fights to defend his newly pregnant wife, Taeng-Onn; the village drunk whose slovenliness masks the highly-skilled axe man lurking within him and numerous other characters who all get plenty of scope, illustrating that it is not just the warriors who are effected by battle but the wives, priests, elderly and children as well. This is one of the film's strongest points and allows it to illustrate a whole patchwork of emotions and situations affected by the chaos. And it is difficult to pick a highlight because no actor ever really outshines any of the rest, you come to care about all of them and when the deaths inevitably occur, some are very sad to behold. But of course, emotional depth is one thing but what everybody really comes to Bang Rajan for is fighting and boy does it deliver. The opening ruck sets the tone instantly as the two opposing armies clash in the middle of a muddy field that soon becomes a mass of flailing limbs and blood-drenched bodies that is all watched by a steadicam that rolls and pivots with the warriors as muddy water splashes the lens. It may be a lesson in camera-work lifted straight from Saving Private Ryan but nonetheless, it is highly effective in taking you right into the heart of the maelstrom. Later skirmishes in the jungle lose none of the brutality as axes and swords are used in ever-more inventive ways to destroy human bodies and the whole thing climaxes in glorious fashion in the jaw dropping final battle. The last Burmese assault flings itself upon the walls of Bang Rajan, cannon fire erupting all around, blowing apart people and buildings as the people we've known for the last two hours contort and die in a hideous barrage of limb-chopping insanity. As far as action goes then, Bang Rajan is definitely an impressive romp and as an Eastern alternative to the bloated, over-stylised likes of Alexander or Troy, it is the far superior choice. Provided you are confident in your sexuality enough to put up with the sight of around two hundred half-naked men getting covered in mud and sweat for two hours, you'll find a good-old fashioned war story with a great big ruck at the end. Set right before the fall of Thailand's old capital, Ayuttaya, Bang Rajan draws on the legend of a village of fighters who bravely fended off the Burmese armies. With no support from the Royal army, the villagers drives the invading Burmese away many times until their names have become legendary during the time. As each subsequent battles becomes fiercer, the villagers tries to forge a canon to battle the enemy in a final battle where everyone, women and children included, die in combat.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2010
    One of the worst asian flims I have seen that shows early life in asian, the fighting of villagers for land rights, guess you can call them tribes. This is about thai's and Burmanise people. Very boring lots of fighting and killing. Sorry I can only give away 2 stars on this one.
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2008
    astounding. saw the new batman flick recently and spent the next week thinking about it. with this one i reckon it'll be the same. it's about a group of siam villagers in bang rajan (that's the village) defending their village against the burmese. you can see it's heavily influenced by the seven samurai but who cares? the action is more often and the story moves along at a faster pace. i'm not taking anything away from the seven samurai because it is also great but am just stating the differences between the two films. yes, a must watch for all!
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2007
    Based upon historical events when a rural village in Siam continually repelled an invading Burmese army in the 18th century, this story is the Thai equivalent to The Alamo and received an unprecedented 11 awards at the Thai film festival upon its release. I think it must've been a very quiet year. Little more than a series of bare chested sword and musket battle sequences strung together with some unsophisticated attempts at emotional manipulation and soap opera characterisation, Bang Rajan follows the formula of battle sequence, weeping and a-wailing over the dead, corny love scene, macho posturing and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. There is no attempt at setting a historical context to the events, no mention of the political climate and precious little to even give any background to any of the characters. All the Burmese are a bunch of evil, murdering backstabbers and all of the Siamese are noble, saintly heroes and it just feels like an animated war memorial that's all propaganda and no depth. The director shows some ability to represent the battlefield (despite some rather ropey visual effects) but little clue as to how to make the audience actually care who wins.
    xGary X Super Reviewer

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