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  Publicity Stills of "Chai-Lai Angels"
(Courtesy from GVP)

Genre: Action/Comedy
Director: Poj Arnon
Starring: Katesarin Akethavatkul, Supaksorn Chaimongkol and Bongkoj Kongmalai
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: GVP & InnoForm Media
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.chailaimovie.com/

Opening Day: 24 August 2006


Synopsis :

Five undercover agents, or “Chai Lais", are tasked with foiling the evil plans of an international crime syndicate. All heroines in their own right, they must use all of their ingenuity and skill to fight their evil nemeses as they arrive in Thailand to pursue the key to their national treasure.

Movie Review:

5 high-heeled Thai femmes are right smack at the centre of this brain-dead action comedy that is all flash, and stuff of lecherous pipe dreams. Quite obviously marketed as a Thai spoof of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, the main selling points are its bevy of girls. And their largely commendable assets. But of course, that includes their extensive weaponry. Although it’s more a take on McG’s ditzy Angels than the late Aaron Spelling’s archetype, “Chai-Lai Angels” (or Dangerous Flowers) remains quintessentially Thai. Right down to its comedy and stinging colloquialisms that retains its vulgar but charming jab at Thai society.

Lotus, Rose, Poy-sian, Na-wua and Kulap are names of flowers (you can surmise its titular inspirations) and code-names for each of these alluring agents. Through their collective ambrosial delights, they are called Chai-Lai, which roughly translates to ‘beautiful’ in the film’s native language. Each armed with a unique skill set, and a shared knack for teasing butt-thrusts that are usually followed up with an acrobatic assortment of ninja kicks, spins and Olympic-worthy (aided by wires of course) gyrations that Mary Lou Retton would turn green at. The quintet is assembled together by the cranially challenged, wig obsessed Somrak (this version’s Bosley) played by “Tom-Yum-Goong” alum, Mom Jok Mok. And their mission? To recover the daughter of a Japanese tycoon who could possibly lead the way to a prized item.

The rudimentary premise is never its focus, unlike the comedic tropes in its over-the-top action sequences and insanely cheesy spread-eagle poses atop moving vehicles and contraptions that are almost always accompanied with precariously positioned towels and casually revealing swimsuits. They are action figure Barbies for men. Put them in enough titillating costumes and inane situations that tickle our fancies and you’ve got one of the most libido-driven drivel this side of Asia.

The film’s silly absurdist humour should draw in a few crowds, eager to repose and ‘strip off‘ reality’s rigour and submit to the Angels’ (or Flowers’ as it were) slapstick gags and incessantly shallow claptrap. It’s worth a chortle or two when illogical and preposterous characters show up, wielding guns with an unlimited amount of ammo as our harebrained heroines respond in kind. Its soft-core temptations and innuendos grow bolder as it progresses, which could have either appeared overly reaching or adequate for its comedic schtick. Thankfully, it’s the latter as the blazing and distracting gunfire dies down and its eccentric supporting characters finally get down to the business of actually being funny.

There are some neat camera shots of the city’s skyline and tranquil rural areas that are intruded upon by its fleeting action sequences. There are also shots that are harried and too squeezed together to make sense of the scene while expressionless close-ups are unnecessarily used to mask budgetary constraints. There’s an infinitesimal air of transcendence about gender politics in this effort when the crimefighters battle off hordes of suited male minions. But that’s easily glazed over when the gals waltz in with skimpy outfits and randomly flash their crotches at unsuspecting cronies.

Movie Rating:

(A passable action comedy that gets the blood pumping to the right places…)

Review by Justin Deimen

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