Teacher Lek has been teaching Thai boxing to a group of kids for their self-defense. He is like both teacher and father to the kids - Wuth, Catt and Pong. The three have to look after Wun, the dear little brother of Wuth, who has a heart problem. Jib, a friend of the kids often hangs out with them and plays with Wun.
One day, a group of hooligans disrupted their life. This caused the sudden heart attack to Wun and made it necessary for him to have a heart transplant urgently. This brought them to the hospital that was seized by an international terrorist group led by "Peda". Unavoidably, they had to get involved in the hospital ordeal. It was here that the fierce fighting between the heroic kids and the cruel terrorists took place for the kids needed to save their little brother's life and help their country at the same time.
And you think the Thai couldn’t get any more innovative in showcasing their love for Thai boxing in movies? Let’s see, we first saw how refreshing it was in Ong Bak (2003), and then things got a little stale in Tom Yum Goong (2005). The ridiculous setups in Ong Bak 2 (2008) and Fireball Muay Thai Dunk (2009) were just too much for us to take. So when we first saw how the Thai filmmakers are turning to kids to showcase this cultural sport, we weren’t having too much hope that this will go down well with us. But thankfully (and fortunately for the folks distributing this DVD here), we were wrong about that.
Directed by Krissanapong Rachata and produced by the people who brought you Ong Bak and 2008’s Chocolate (this one featured a female warrior – woo!), this very accessible movie tells a very likeable story about how four children sneak into a terrorist captured hospital to get their hands on a heart, so that they can save their fifth friend who is dying from a heart attack. If this isn’t enough to tug at your heartstrings (five adorable kids in one serving!), we don’t know what else will. To add to the fun factor, these four kids are trained in Thai boxing, so the story gives them enough reason to showcase their punches and kicks.
The movie starts off favourably by introducing the different personalities of the young protagonists, which are stereotyped but still not irritable enough for you to switch off and dismiss them as being boringly caricatured characters. One reason why you’d be engaged is the charming performances put up by the five young actors. They do not overshadow each other, and have distinct enough portrayals to have you believe that none of them are supporting characters.
Above all, the story of how the four kids are trying to save their friend is a universally feel good one. To add depth to the movie, there is even a sub plot involving a misunderstood villain to make things even more heartfelt. Action fans also won’t be disappointed with the dazzling fight scenes and well choreographed sequences. Good looker Johnny Nguyen (with an attempt to look disfigured with some skimpily done make up) is also roped in to provide some kick-ass action. Watch him fight it out with the kids! Watch him fire the ammunition! Watch him get comeuppance for the bad deeds he’s done!
By the end of 73 minutes (a very welcoming duration for movies these days), you’d be smiling to yourself, simply because this doesn’t feel like one of those exploitative and pompous Thai action movies that have been flooding your senses in recent memory.
This Code 3 DVD contains a Trailer, a four minute Featurette and a four minute Behind the Scenes. Although no there are no subtitles for these clips, do not fret because they are simply visual montages which do not provide much in depth information about the making of the movie.
There isn’t much to complain about the movie’s visual transfer, and you can watch it in its original Thai language.
Review by John Li
Posted on 30 August 2009