From director Nopporn Watin comes the martial arts action film "Muay Thai Warrior" (also known as "Samurai Ayothaya" or "The Samurai of Ayothaya"). A film loosely based on the Japanese adventurer Yamada Nagamasa, who became influential in the Ayutthaya Kingdom (a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767 and known for its foreign trade and Ayutthaya was one of the wealthiest cities in the East) in the 17th Century and would become the governor of the Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand.
The film "Muay Thai Warrior" was created to celebrate 124 years of Japan and Thailand relations and now the film will be released by Well Go USA on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2013. The film would feature Japanese actor Seigi Ozeki ("The Odd Couple"), Sorapong Chatree ("Ong Bak 2 and 3″, "Beautiful Boxer"), Winai Kraibutr ("Bangkok Revenge", "Bang Rajan") and K1 fighter Buakhao Paw Pramuk.
"Muay Thai Warrior" takes place in the 17th century and a time when Thailand had a small Japanese community, many who were ronin (samurai warriors with no lord to serve) hired by the Ayothaya as soldiers (because Ayutthaya was being invaded by other foreign invaders) and that foreign trade was popular between Thailand and Japan. Among those working for King Ayothaya is a young soldier named Nagamasa Yamada (portrayed by Seigi Ozeki).
"Muay Thai Warrior" is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality for the most part is good as the areas of Siam are shown as a colorful area. Beautiful scenic areas but on the otherside of this film is showcasing the brutality. From people getting stabbed by swords and also showing blood flying everywhere, even towards the lens of the camera. But for a martial arts film, picture quality for the most part is good. Closeups are full of detail and black levels are nice and deep. I did notice some areas where there was aliasing and artifacts. But probably for one scene where things looked a bit messy. But for the majority of the film, "Muay Thai Warrior" looked very good on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Muay Thai Warrior" is presented in Thai and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Dialogue and musical score are crystal clear. I didn't notice a lot of use of the surround channels during my viewing but for moreso for ambiance.
Subtitles are in English.
"Muay Thai Warrior" come with a theatrical trailer.
"Muay Thai Warrior" comes with a slipcover.
When it comes to martial arts films such as "Muay Thai Warrior", those who enjoy films such as the "Ong Bak" will love the martial arts in the film. The action sequences are pretty cool to watch and the fighting choreography was definitely impressive.
But when it comes to the actually story, it all comes down to the viewer. For one, Nagamasa Yamada is a historical figure in Siam (Thailand) history. Known for his trade activities, what we do know that in the kingdom of Ayuttthaya, around 1,500 Japanese lived in a community known as "Ban Yipun". We know that many Japanese who converted to Christianity and also ronin samurai fled to Siam to avoid persecution from Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. It was also known that the Thai King respected the Japanese colony because of their military expertise. And Nagamasa Yamada became the head of the Japanese colony. From the time he was in Siam to the time of his death, he was instrumental in creating trade relations between Thailand and Japan up to his death (in which he was killed in combat) in which Japan then went through a period of seclusion.
Interesting about Nagamasa Yamada is that you read the positive depictions of him in Siam but you dig a little bit more and you will also find out that he may have been a pirate in the seas who plundered Dutch Ships. Rumors continue to persist that Yamada has buried his treasure in Australia.
Fact or fiction, Nagamasa Yamada is an intriguing character that connects Japan and Thailand and to celebrate their longtime relationship, why not a joint collaboration for a film.
In the film "Muay Thai Warrior", one should not watch the film as historical fact but to watch the film as a straight-up popcorn action film full of martial arts action scenes and awesome choreography. The film does have its cute moments as Nagamasa Yamada is being tended to by a beautiful woman and her young (comical) niece.
But for those interested in the Muay Thai fighting genre will probably be interested in how the fighting is depicted in the film, especially the use of fighting and swordfighting.
In the aspect of martial arts, the fight choreography was impressive, the story was of course farfetched, but typically when it comes to Asian cinema about a historical character that involves martial arts, more often, you'll find that the films are 90-95% fiction.
But for a Thailand martial arts film, what I see in a film such as "Muay Thai Warrior" is an improvement in production and special effects. But still, the original "Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior" from 2003 still manages to be the film that other Muay Thai films will be compared to and its understandable as the first "Ong Bak" film, in my opinion, is still the best that I have seen so far.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is good, with some areas that had artifacts and aliasing issues, but the majority of the film looked very good and lossless audio was clear and subtitles were easy to read. I wish there were more special features other than the trailer.
Overall, some may feel that "Muay Thai Warrior" feels like "The Last Samurai" with Muay Thai but if you love Thai popcorn martial arts action films with cool fight choreography, "Muay Thai Warrior" is for you!