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If you gather John Woo, Stephen Chow, Jackie Chan, and Takashi Miike, sequester them in separate hotel suites, give them enough cocaine and Red Bull to kill a horse, plus a list of things the kids find ‘cool’ these days, then force them to each make a different short film using the same actors, and edit the films together, you might end up with something as insanely random and hyperactive as The Tiger Blade.

I’d try to sum up the plot, but this film makes more or less zero sense on more or less every level. The thrust of the story is a constant mystery, the characters and their relationship to one another is constantly up in the air, and the many last act double crosses are bereft of shock because the alliances are never appropriately defined. Director Theeratorn Siriphunvaraporn obviously just had a series of set pieces in his head, and he wasn’t too concerned with connecting them. Things just keep happening at a frighteningly attention deficit pace. It often appears that large sections of film have gone missing, as characters warp straight from the beginning of an action to its end.

Tiger Blade
TheTiger Blade sword itself, the inspiration for the bloody title, has almost no bearing on the ‘plot’, it’s simply acquired, used, and forgotten. When the sword is found the hero must find virgin’s blood to activate it, which proves to be a difficult task. One assumes this is going to become a plot point, or at least the set up for a joke, but the punch line is delivered off screen, and in the end only important to two additional action scenes. It’s times like this where it seems that Siriphunvaraporn is trying to insure that none of the threads tie together. Even the editing of the actions scenes is non-sequential, and the comedic aspects jump rigidly out of nowhere.

But like I say, I still haven’t seen a boring Thai film, and despite all this stupidity The Tiger Blade sucked me in with its anarchic sound and fury. I’ve got no idea what the hell is going on, but it’s colourful, flashy, sexy, bloody, and often hilarious in its out of nowhere sense of absurdist humour.

Video


Ah, the saturated pastels of Thailand, it’s almost like they were made for high definition. The Tiger Blade isn’t quite as highly detailed as the BCI release of Vengeance, but this is mostly due to the film’s softer lighting. Often the film appears overexposed, but this is all part of the director’s style over substance plan. Saturated colours and whites are very bright without sacrificing the rich blacks. The greens are especially gorgeous, and flesh tones are spot on, without too much red or green in the mix. I caught a few minor instances of print artefacts, but compression noise is nearly non-existent, save a few of the darker sequences. The image flutters a little bit during some of the tracking shots, but you’d really have to be looking for it to be bothered by it.

Tiger Blade

Audio


BCI has once again offered three audio choices, Dolby Digital 5.1 Thai, Dolby Surround Thai, or Dolby Surround English. The English dub is very vocal heavy, knocking sound effects and music way down on the track, and the dubbing actors aren’t putting very much into their line readings, so I’d say skip straight to the 5.1 Thai track. The Tiger Blade is just as audibly furious as it is thematically ridiculous, so you can expect a lot of aggression from the track, though it seems to these ears to have been compressed quite a bit. The surround effects all seem to work, but I had to turn things up a little higher than usual to get the desired effect. The centred dialogue exhibits some noticeable distortion throughout the film, even when characters aren’t yelling. This problem is most obvious towards the very end of the film where all the protagonists and antagonists have drawn guns on each other. I’m also a little disappointed with the LFE track, which isn’t as punchy as I would’ve preferred. The Tiger Blade uses a lot of silly, umpa umpa techno music, and sometimes that thumping bass is a little loose.

Extras


This small collection of extras begins with a collection of raw, behind the scenes footage. There are no interviews, intercut scenes from the film, or even catchy music, just point and shoot footage from the making of the movie’s various action scenes, in no particular order. It seems there are a million ways to be injured on the set of a Thai action film, but driving a go-cart under a moving semi truck apparently isn’t one of them. The footage runs close to twenty minutes, and is followed by fifteen minutes of interviews with really awful sound quality. Apparently the producers intended The Tiger Blade to be a Western friendly project that they could sell to any country. Perhaps this attempt at a Hollywood production can be blamed for the non-sequential nature of the film. The interviews are intercut with the same behind the scenes footage, so do yourself a favour and skip right to them, you’ll save yourself twenty minutes. It all comes crashing down with trailers for The Tiger Blade and Vengeance.

Tiger Blade

Overall


It wild and wacky, and I think you need to have some kind of specialist’s degree to understand what the hell is going on, but The Tiger Blade makes for some pretty great beer and pizza movie watching. The disc is priced right, and looks great, so why not gather up some friends for a hyperactive night at the movies? Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.


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