ContactSales: Phranakorn Film, Bangkok ([email protected])
Theatrical release: Thailand, 25 Mar 2010.
Presented by Phranakorn Film (TH). Produced by Phranakorn Film (TH). Executive producers: Thanapol Thanarungroj, Vichai Thanarungroj. Producers: Thanit Jitnukul, Thawatchai Phanpakdeh, Sakchai Sriboonnak.
Script: Titipong Chaisati, Sorathep Vetwongsatip, Nidchaya Boonsiripunth, Amnard Thanksomboom, Thanit Jitnukul. Photography: Piraphan Laoyont. Editing: Nopadol Kumduang, Titipong Chaisati, Piraphan Laoyont, Nidchaya Boonsiripunth, Thanit Jitnukul. Music: Thippatai Pirompak. Production design: Boontin Tuaykaew. Art direction: Somporn Sirichawarit, Narong Boonmark, Surasak Mahattananon, Sanawut Kodtei, Sirichai Pomsema. Costume design: Kijja Lapho. Sound: Chakhrit Booriboon. Action: Phangrit Sangcha, Jiraphan Phankong. Visual effects: Inverse Forge Studios. Co-direction: Sakchai Sriboonnak, Boontin Tuaykaew, Titipong Chaisati, Phangrit Sangcha.
Cast: Chatchai Plengpanich (Phya Lhek), Paradorn Srichaphan (Mun), Weerayut Nancha (Muen Sena), Puri Hiranprueck (Daeng), Chaiwat Thongsang (Muen Han), Theerayut Pratyabamrung (Bhikku Thammachot, the monk), Chirakit Suwannapaph (Master Suki), Sothon Rungrueng (Thong), Arun Bhavilai (Sang), Preecha Ketkum (Mung Cha-ngai), Thinnikorn Suwanmaitri (Kiew), Witsanu Sang-los (Pan), Prakaipetch Suwanmaitri (Buk), Pavit Jinjit (Mhai), Nayos Saothongyun (Khunpan), Jeerawat Mairieng (Long), John Islam (Naymeo Sehabodi, the Burmese commander), Arunee Chaipreechavit (Chaba, Daeng's girlfriend), Rattikan Sornsin (Lamduan, Mung Cha-ngai's wife), Prew Viriyahbhanij (Jumpee, Mun's wife), Rampa Jirasamittha (Makham), Kumpanat Anurakwongsa (Phya Tos), Barnabas Manggunio (Pin), Patomkrit Sudsara (Thongdaeng), Werayut Daradat (Chui), Phichatphong Chokpadap (Duk), Amnat Buaprot (Den), Chumporn Teppituk (Taen), Bin Banlorrit (Tong-menn), Winai Kraibutr (Inn), Jaran Ngamdee (Chan Nuat-kheo), Phutharit Prombaandal (Pun-reuang), Jai Pongsak (Tong Saeng Yai), Nirut Saosudchart (Dok), Somnuk Kaewvichit (Tong Kaew), Surachet Lohsoongnern (Khun-sun), Attakorn Suwannaraj (Meuang), Pidoon Thabhuan (Kom).
Bang Rajan 2 บางระจัน ２
2010, colour, 1.85, 127 mins
Directed by Thanit Jitnukul (ธนิต จิตนุกูล)
By Derek Elley
Mon, 05 July 2010, 21:27 PM (HKT)
Lots of blood- and mud-soaked heroism but less epic in feel than the 2000 original. Asian-centred and fantasy festivals, plus some ancillary.
Thailand, the mid-late 1760s. Following the brave but hopeless stand of the villagers of Bang Rajan against the well-equipped Burmese army, morale in the country has plummeted and the Thai resistance become disunited as the invaders advance on the capital, Ayudhaya. Howvever, a group of patriotic warriors - the Yantric Cloth Bandits - hide out in Thong Lhang forest under the leadership of Buddhist monk Bhikku Thammachot (Teerayuth Pratyabamrung). Burmese commander Naymeo Sehabodi (John Islam) orders one of his generals, Master Suki (Chirakit Suwannapaph), to find the monk; but Suki and his troops are ambushed by the YCB, who rescue their prisoners and take them back to their forest hideout. The influx of people puts extra strain on the YCB's resources, and the situation worsens when they also sheleter a resistance group led by the educated Phya Lhek (Chatchai Plengpanich). As food becomes scarce, tensions rise between YCB warrior Mun (Paradorn Srichaphan) and Phya Lhek, with the latter urging immediate action against the Burmese but the latter more caution.
Ten years on from the original Bang Rajan 2 บางระจัน ２ (2000), director Thanit JITNUKUL ธนิตย์ จิตนุกูล has lost none of his energy for staging gritty, blood-spurting action and heroic nationalism, despite working with a different team (apart from production designer Boontin TUAYKAEW บุญถิ่น ทวยแก้ว) and a fresh cast. This belated follow-up to what was Thailand's all-time box-office hit is very much in the same spirit and with the same grungy, colour-drained look to the action sequences and pretty much the same sweaty, mud-spattered look to the actors. What it lacks is a dramatic device — like the original's building of a huge cannon — to give the film an epic feel and some overall sense of purpose, as well as a standout character on a par with the original's wild jungle man who whipped the villagers into shape.
Instead, the script, largely set in the warriors' forest hideout, is a series of (well-staged) battles separated by moments of downtime in which the characters develop a little background (the romance between young warrior Daeng and his girlfriend Chaba, tensions between the various factions, etc.). This works okay for most of the film but there's no sense of a build-up to a do-or-die finale. The audience has already been told that the capital, and therefore the country, has been lost and the climactic engagements, when they eventually come after a long eve-of-battle section, don't really justify the wait — despite lots of rain effects to beef up the drama. Some very average CGI for a giant statue hawled by enslaved Thais don't help.
Despite all this — and the familiarity of the whole look from the original — Bang Rajan 2 is still engaging. When he finally appears, megastar Chatchai PLENGPANICH ฉัตรชัย เปล่งพานิช (The Legend of Suriyothai สุริโยไท (2001), The Legend of King Naresuan II: Reclamation of Sovereignty ตำนานสมเด็จนเรศวรมหาราช ภาคประกาศอิสรภาพ (2007), Slice เฉือน (2009)) gives some real acting class to the movie as the educated newcomer in the patriots' midst. Former tennis star Paradorn SRICHAPHAN ภราดร ศรีชาพันธุ์ looks every inch a beefy peasant warrior, and Theerayut PRATYABAMRUNG ธีรยุทธ ปรัชญาบำรุง (from the original) makes a muscular Buddhist monk. The varied score by Thippatai PIROMPAK ธิปไตย ภิรมย์ภักดิ์ (martial thumping, unearthly atmospherics, melancholic melodies) helps to keep the movie moving.