Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The concept is so non-PC, it’s genius. Who could possibly have come up with the idea of a mentally handicapped girl in Thailand, whose kick boxing skills extend to kung fu and beyond? Her hand/eye coordination is abnormally acute and although her communication skills are limited to an autistic level, she can catch a flying missile, even with her eyes shut.

Zin (Ammara Siriphong) is a glamorous mafia member who makes the fatal mistake of falling in love with rival gang boss Masashi (Hiroshi Abe) and running away with him. He is from Japan and eventually Zin persuades him to go back for his own safety. Later she discovers that she is pregnant with Zen, whom she cares for as a special needs child, while in hiding from the gang.

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Their modest apartment is next door to a kick boxing gym and Zen sits at the window, watching the men practice. Quite soon, she is copying their moves and practising herself at home. By the time she reaches teenage, her cousin takes her out into the street, where she (JeJa Yanin) performs her catching skills and they make a little money, passing the hat round.

When Zin is diagnosed with cancer, she goes into hospital where she requires expensive medication. Meanwhile, Zen and her cousin have found a notebook, listing money owed to Zin, although it is really protection money owed to the mafia, and they decide to visit these people at their workplace and demand payment for Zin’s medicine. In every case, they are thrown out on their ears and in every case Zin retaliates. By the end, when she takes on the army of the mafia boss (Pongpat Wachirabunjong), it becomes as ridiculous as Kill Bill.

There is no arguing against Yanin’s unique talent. She is mesmerising and retains brilliantly Zen’s mental defection. The fight choreography is awesome. Having such a lithe young pupil in the person of Yanin only adds to the visual excitement, especially in the final fight-out along the side of a building.

All the main protagonists are attractive and if the plot appears repetitive, once Zen starts her personal war against Zin’s debtors, it is relieved by the delicacy and fierce commitment of this extraordinary young girl, a true martial arts star in the making.

Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2008
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An autistic girl, with devastating martial arts skills, takes on the Thai mafia.
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Director: Prachya Pinkaew

Writer: Chukiat Sakveerakul, Nepalee Sakweerakul

Starring: JeeJa Yanin, Ammara Siripong, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabunjong, Dechawut Chuntakaro, Anusuk Jangajit, Kittitat Kowahagul, Taphon Phopwandee, Pirom Ruangkitjakan, Hirokazu Sano

Year: 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Thailand


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