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  Publicity Stills of "Chocolate"
Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films

In Thai with English and Chinese Subtitles
Prachya Pinkaew
Cast: “Jija” Yanin Vismistananda, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabanjong, Amara Siripong, Tapol Pobwandee, Lim Su Jeong, Soumia Abalhaja, “Oh” Sirimongkol, Day Freeman, Sar Mawor
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm Media
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)
Official Website:

Opening Day: 15 May 2008


Yakuza Masashi and his Thai lover Zin were forced to separate with Masashi being sent back to Japan and Zin to continue staying in Bangkok as a single mother. Brought up single-handedly by Zin, thier daughter Zen is autistic in nature. She is compensated with agility and picks up Muay Thai through watching television programs and from observing the trainings taking place at the Muay Thai academy next door. Zen becomes an obsessive fighter who excels at catching fast-flying objects. When Zin is diagnosed with cancer, Zen has to fight her way through to collect money from her mother's debtors to raise her medical funds.

Movie Review:

Remember the 80’s HK cinema where it’s flooded with action heroines. Michelle Yeoh, Moon Lee, Sibelle Hu, Cynthia Rothrock and Michiko Nishiwaki are among the many of them who could easily kick one’s ass hard. But with the decline of Asian cinema in later years, this bunch of actresses was soon forgotten by the audience.

With “Chocolate”, there’s a glimmer of hope for reviving action heroines on the big screen to satisfy the action fans. From the makers of "Ong Bak" and "Tom Yum Goong" comes newcomer “Jija” Yanin Vismistananda, a young 24 year old girl with a strong taekwando background and handpicked personally by Panna Rittikrai, a leading action choreographer and founder of the Muay Thai stunt team.

Jija plays Zen, an offspring of a key member of the Japanese Yakuza who had an affair with one of the henchwoman of the Thai mafia gang. Forced to live in recluse, Zen’s mother has to single-handedly raised Zen who suffers from autism. To put it bluntly, the plot sounds like it was scribed overnight, the purpose of having Zen going around to collect money back from her mother’s debtors to pay for medical bills is an apparent excuse to showcase Jija’s fighting skills.

From an ice factory to a warehouse and to a wet market, the action choreography possesses the raw energy and wackiness exhibited by Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung in their heydays. Especially the market sequence, you will roar with laughter and screamed in pain for the baddies as Jija went around clobbering the lot of them with her extreme agility. For sure, you will never see a cleaver in the same manner again.

As much I want to enjoy "Chocolate" to the fullest, I couldn’t help noticing the sloppy editing which really affected the flow of the action sequences and secondly, it somehow gets draggy and too repetitive towards the end. I remember Jackie Chan once pointed out a major flaw in action movies in which if you notice hard, there will be lots of henchmen jumping around the protagonist without actually attacking him or her. "Chocolate" is one of them.

Despite the flaws including some cliché involving transvestite villains (again) that might or might not get on your nerves, "Chocolate" is a thoroughly enjoyable action flick. Basically, director Prachya Pinkaew’s intention or message to the audience is inside every “special child” lies a unique ability. That is if you believe an autistic child can learnt martial arts through television ("Ong Bak" to be precise) and watching Muay Thai training sessions.

Don’t be in a hurry to leave the theater as you get to see how the various stuntmen and Jija earned their cuts and bruises during the NG reel. Excruciating pain no less.

Movie Rating:

(Chocolate will rock your tastebud!)

Review by Linus Tee


. Muay Thai Chaiya (2007)

. Tom Yum Goong (2005)

. Mercury Man DVD (2006)

. Dynamite Warrior VCD (2006)

. Born to Fight VCD (2005)


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