SYNOPSIS: Taekwondo medalist, Master Moon runs a Taekwondo studio in Bangkok. Moon’s happy family is filled with talented individuals with everyone excelling in some form of martial arts: his wife Yoon successfully weaved martial art into her daily kitchen chores; Tae-yang their eldest child is an expert in Taekwondo fused with Street-dance elements; second child Tae-Mi can do some formidable high kicks that packs a punch; and the baby of the family, Tae-poong is famous for combat combining fatal head-butts! Everything is well and smooth till the Moon family became Thailand’s national heroes after helping to capture the Suk-Doo, a syndicate known for stealing the Legendary Thai sword. Little did Moon and Yoon expect the Suk-Doo to kidnap Tae-poong for revenge…
We always thought the Koreans and the Thais have little in common, but trust the cultural ministries of both countries to think of a movie like ‘The Kick’ to bring the two disparate cultures closer together. We’d have to say though that the outcome seems to have turned out in favour of the Koreans- after all, besides the setting, the choice of Prachya Pinkaew as director and some elephant distraction a la ‘Tom Yum Goong’, there is little to suggest that the Thais had any real presence in the movie.
Pinkaew himself came up with the story of a Korean family of taekwondo experts in Thailand who get unwittingly embroiled in the theft of a national treasure- the father Mun (Jo Jae-hyeon) a former Taekwondo athlete who was so close at getting the Olympic gold; the mother Mi-ja (Ye Ji-won) an equally adept Taekwondo practitioner; and their children Tae-yang (Korean pop star Taejoo), Tae-mi (K. Kim), and Typhoon. Since the dialogue is mostly in Korean, the screenplay is written not by Pinkaew but by Lee Jong-suk, who understands that what story that exists serves merely to string together the action on display.
You can tell therefore that screenwriter Jong-suk hasn’t tried much- the villains of Korean origin aren’t particularly smart; and the story that exists between the said Taekwondo family is an oft-told tale where the well-meaning father wants one thing and the idealistic son wants another. Add to the fray Mun’s friend Uncle Mom (Pinkaew regular Petchtai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkamlao) and his niece Wawa (Chocolate’s Yanin "Jeeja" Vismitananda) and you basically have the whole ensemble down pat.
Instead, Pinkaew places his focus on the numerous action sequences, collaborating once again with his regular action director Panna Rittikrai. Between the two, you can bet that there will be some jaw-dropping action, and indeed the stunts on display do not disappoint one bit. Most deserving of mention is that which they have choreographed for Taejoo, who gets at least two outstanding showcases of his own- including one personal favourite where he meshes Taekwondo and dance into a flurry of style and power.
Speaking of Taejoo, it’s also worthy to mention that the actor pretty much steals the entire show, mixing both physical agility with genuine comic likeability- and though it may be premature to say so, he does have a hint of the younger Jackie Chan within, at least much more so than Jackie’s own son Jaycee in this year’s ‘Double Trouble’. The rest of the cast are pretty much sidelined- save maybe for Yanin, whose thinly written character at least gets her time in the limelight with some terrific moves.
Action fans expecting the kind of realistic violence Pinkaew is known for in his previous Tony Jaa films will likely be disappointed though- this is made clearly for a family-friendly audience, so there’s little blood or hard-hitting action. Instead, as we’ve mentioned, the tone Pinkaew has gone for is reminiscent of the Jackie Chan films, so expect a fair bit of the action to be played for laughs. Despite that, there’s little doubt that the Thais have pretty much overtaken the action staple of the Hong Kong film industry, even when it comes to action comedies.
And even if ‘The Kick’ doesn’t pack as powerful a (pardon the pun) kick as you would expect it to, this family-friendly action comedy still is generous entertainment- though in our opinion, there doesn’t seem to be much cultural assimilation between the Thais and the Koreans. We’d like to see a sequel where the Thais visit the Koreans and introduce some tom yum into their kimchi- hopefully then, the balance will be tilted in favour of the former.
Just a trailer and a photo gallery of stills you may have missed in between the fast bouts of action.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 delivers a pretty solid package during the action scenes. Visuals are clear and sharp.