Not to be confused with the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston schmaltzfest of the same name, this Thai action film is one one of countless gun-happy Asian action films that have come in the wake of John Woo's 1989 masterpiece, "The Killer." But 2004's "The Bodyguard," directed by Thai comedian Petchtai Wongkamlao, is a goofball gunfest that owes as much to teen parody flicks as to Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. While the bullets fly, minor characters crack jokes and various assassins emerge as bullies and buffoons -- the film plays it straight for only a second or two, and the rapidly rising bodycount is only half the fun.
In the first film, "Bodyguard," Wongkamlao (an improbably nebbishy action hero) plays a personal bodyguard who fails to save the life of his billionaire employer, despite having annihilated the dozens of killers sent to attack. Disgraced, he is fired by the victim's son, a feckless playboy whose life is now in danger as bad guys try to take over his father's kazillion-dollar business empire. (Don't worry too much about the plot, though: it won't get in the way for long...) The comedy keeps getting more and more outrageous: in the first half of the film, Wongkamlao streaks naked through downtown Bangkok, shooting at his pursuers while holding a cereal bowl over his privates... and that's just the beginning of the film! In the 2007 sequel, we get the origins of the bodyguard character, in his younger role as a government secret agent uncovering corruption in the Thai record industry. (Again, don't worry too much about the plot...)
Both films, in addition to being entertaining and goofy, give interesting glimpses into modern Thai society -- ornate temples and shiny skyscrapers set next to ramshackle slums and vast junkyards filled with bony, desperate rag-pickers. It's the kind of social commentary that works best because it isn't actually commentary at all -- it's just a simple presentation of life as it is in modern-day Southeast Asia. And meanwhile, the bullets fly, the bodies fall and the laughter rises... (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)