Sunday, November 11, 2007

Immortal Enemy – review


Director: Suthat Intaranupokorn

Release Date: 2003

Contains spoilers


…Well, that about sums it up for this Thai movie that, seemingly, was number 1 in the box office in its own country. This is a confused piece of work and one might have blamed the subtitles – which probably rank as the worst in any movie. We get name changes, for example Eddie (Kongkrapunt Sangsuriya) as his name is subtitled is also called Ned (a confusing contraction) but according to the DVD box and imdb he is called Narudom. Okay this seems just like an Anglicisation but other character names change during the film and those changes make less sense.

Kongkrapunt Sangsuriya as EddieThe subtitles confuse gender, a lot, so where they are referring to a he it could be a she and they are literal translations with, it seems, no concept of English by whoever did them – bare in mind this disc is the US release. Sometimes these language faux pas can be amusing, like when Eddie introduces the male vampire to his fiancé as his husband. But the problem doesn’t just lie in the subtitles, they simply compound the issue. The plotting of the film seems confused also.

As far as I can tell, this is the basic story. Years before the main film is set there was an attack on a village, which was defended by Don and Uncle Wan. There are a few Uncles in the film and it seems to be a honorific rather than a familial term, another subtitle issue. Wan told Don to go see his wife, during the attack, as something was very wrong and then was killed – spear through the top of the head, no less, ouch. Meanwhile, in a castle known as the Garden (or at least I have assumed that, being generous, it has been suggested that calling it garden was a mistranslation of castle), a young man named Mekin (Winai Kraibutr) – whose name is Anglicised to Malcolm – takes a potion that will make him immortal. A woman called Bonnie is brought in and tied up.

Malcolm is given Bonnie's faceHe declares his love for the bound Bonnie but she spurns him as she is Dom’s wife. Malcolm’s father comes in and has him imprisoned in a cell below the castle. He manages to give a message to two of the guards. Those guards attack the village and, in a very gory moment, literally rip Bonnie’s face off. This is thrown, in disgust, at Malcolm (who seems most upset at her facelift, despite the film indicating he ordered it) and he is told he will be imprisoned for life. Somehow, unexplained, he gets out of his cell and into what looks suspiciously like a giant fish tank. Whilst he is submerged it explodes.

Modern day. Eddie has inherited the Garden and takes a tour of the cellar with his girl Elly. We get a lot of weirdness down there. There is a cockroach moment, followed by a floor of snakes and them getting locked in when the door mysteriously closes and locks. As they try to get out he cuts his hand (and later we see that the spilt blood attracts something). In the cells we see a corpse walking that they miss but then see it hanging – for no good reason. It felt like the filmmakers were throwing stuff in for fun. Anyway they are rescued by their friends.

Having dinner that night Eddie states that he has found the resurrection incantation – but it cannot be used during a full moon. When three of the friends are driving home Lorna is shown a mask and freaks out, thinking it to be a ripped off face – she is the reincarnation of Bonnie and is reliving her trauma. Anyway later, in a trance, Eddie reads the incantation on a full moon and his behaviour starts to change. It just doesn’t get held together that well as a moving plot piece.

rebirth of the vampireThe long story cut short Malcolm is reborn and Eddie becomes his cohort. Malcolm wants Bonnie back (not that he ever had her), but Lorna’s boyfriend is Dom reincarnated also. The reincarnated Dom foils a robbery perpetrated against the reincarnation of Uncle Wan, who gives him a gaudy magical ring to say thank you. Meanwhile Malcolm is making vampires and a vampire buster called Master Young turns up.

cgi hands... ooo scaryThe effects don’t help the film, some are effective and others look terribly fake but worst are the cgi effects that are thrown in everywhere. With this paragraph is a screenshot of a nightmare that Lorna has and the hands coming from the ground look simply awful. We even get cgi fangs and blood from bites and neither looks real.

Louise is a vampireThere are also some strange moments that could only be called Benny Hill moments and are there, I guess, as comic relief. That said the vampire women do look effective in places – especially the first one turned called Louise. Even with these we get odd aspects. She attacks and drains a man and he turns into a wicker model of a man – why?

Master YoungStranger still is the finale as Malcolm uses Eddie’s nightclub to find all the patrons born on a night of the full moon and turn them. Yet only one or two of these turn into vampires, the others are clearly zombies. We then get a bizarre scenario of the heroes raiding the Garden to rescue Lorna, zombies attacking the place in hordes and swat units driving in and abseiling from choppers, shooting everything that moves.

both vampires and zombies dustOnly Dom’s reincarnation and Master Young, however, are successful at killing these things (as they are using magic rather than bullets) and we get vampires dusted but also zombies being dusted as though they were vampires.

It is a confused film that obviously had a modicum of budget. It probably made more sense in its original language but I doubt it made much more. Some of the action sequences work but I have to say the village attack at the vampirehead of the film was horrible – shaky cameras once again infect a film.

I can only give this 1.5 out of 10 (it gets some points for some effective scenes/imagery).

The imdb page is here.

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