Bang Rajan

2000 [THAI]

Action / Drama / History / War

0
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 2018

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Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 02, 2022 at 04:30 PM

Director

Top cast

720p.WEB
1.06 GB
1280*720
Thai 2.0
R
24 fps
1 hr 58 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by simon_booth 8 / 10

Slightly messy but dramatic and gory epic

I've been wanting to see BANG RAJAN for a good three years - and in this age of dvds and internets it's not often I have to wait that long to see something, but life seemed unwilling to give this film a readily available release with English subtitles. Finally, though, after sitting on the title for 2 years and almost missing out on first-to-market to Oliver Stone in the US, HKL spin-off Premier Asia got round to releasing it - in a 2-disc special edition with numerous interviews for extras, no less.

BANG RAJAN was a landmark for the Thai film industry, a blockbuster hit that helped to create the recent surge in film production and production values. It tells the true story of a village called Bang Rajan, whose people stood their ground and managed to fight off the northern flank of an invading army from Burma in 1765. Without their bravery, Thailand might just be a province of Burma right now. Bang Rajan wasn't exactly a small village as it turns out, but they were far from a trained army, and were still vastly outnumbered by the invaders. How they managed to hold them off for so long is still a bit of a mystery.

As far as I'm aware, there had never been a film made on as large a scale as this in Thailand before - though Tan Mui would have been well into pre-production on Suriyothai when BR was made. Director Tanit Jitnukul seems to be specialising in historical epics a bit, and has made several more since - including the very enjoyable KHUNSUK, which reunites many of the cast members from BANG RAJAN, but weaves a more personal story into the tapestry of the wars and times. BANG RAJAN wants to tell the story of the village, rather than any single individual - though about half a dozen characters are picked out to receive the main focus of the story, or to represent the village as a whole I guess. The director's story-telling skills aren't quite up to the task of weaving together these threads into a coherent picture, but you do get to care somewhat for the characters eventually. The main aim of the film is to show the heroism and predicament of a whole village of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, forced to fight to protect their families and their country. In most war films the fighters are soldiers, and their battles are pretty much divorced from their everyday lives (photos of girlfriends back home etc aside), the villagers of BANG RAJAN are caught up in a war that they just happen to be stood in the way of.

What makes BANG RAJAN into a war film, though, are the battle scenes - of which there are many, of a surprising scale and brutality. There's a lot of serious injury, and the sound of flesh being sliced, pierced or lopped off is sometimes relentless. The level and realism of the gore in the film is very high - possibly even higher than Korea's MUSA, almost as if the opening scene of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN had been filmed with machetes, axes, hammers, spears and arrows. And still with guns and cannons too, for that matter. The Premier Asia set includes a very nice interview with the producer of the film, where he explains that he knows they can't achieve the degree of "perfection" in battle scenes that Hollywood films can because of their higher budget, but he hopes that the film does at least stand up to international scrutiny in terms of realism. Apart from a few dodgy CGI explosions, I'd say it certainly does.

I wish that BANG RAJAN had got a wide release right after it was made, as it would probably have been pretty successful. 5 years later, it's thunder has been somewhat stolen by other films like MUSA, SURIYOTHAI, HERO, WARRIORS OF HEAVEN & EARTH and THE LAST SAMURAI. Compared to these, BR must be judged inferior (well, except for Suriyothai, which was more expensive looking but a less captivating film). The story-telling isn't too tight and most of the acting is unimpressive. It is film-making on a grand scale though, with impressively high production values for its budget (far lower than any of the other films mentioned) and a visceral impact that still stands up. Compared to MUSA it might look a little amateurish, but you have to remember there was no MUSA to compare it to when it came out. I don't suppose BANG RAJAN had much if any influence on those other historical epics that have followed it, since it was probably not seen far outside Thailand, but at least its impact on the Thai film industry must be taken as a credit.

Viewed in 2005 it's unlikely to be a life-changing film for anyone, but it's still definitely worth a watch - and I hope that it will sell well enough for Premier Asia to take a few more risks on releasing lesser-known films that don't already have good subtitled releases elsewhere.

Reviewed by quantumcat 9 / 10

impressive movie even though I can't understand a word Thai and watched it unsubtitled

I lent this on VCD from a friend of mine and I was impressed. I watched a non-subtitled thai version and I don't understand a word thai.

this movie re-accounts the struggle of a small village against one of 2 burmese invasion armies and holds out for about 5 months -against all odds.

I was pleasantly surprized to find a thrilling action movie without too much sentiments, but just enough to not all hack & slash and not to much to become hollywoodish overly dramatic to the very annoying level of fase-turn-off-the-dvd-player (like Peal Harbour). The comparison with braveheart is easlily made -since this movie has one of the last mass-armies scenes that is not computer enhanced (like 10 soldiers digitally multiplied by 1000)Which is a very impressive scene

There are a few flaws. I thought the fight scenes a filmed a bit messy. It does creatw a feeling of the chaos that is melee, but unfortunately, if one can't tell one villager from another -the all look a-like, which makes the action scene little difficult to follow(compare Black Hawk Down where all were mostly caucasian and had short trimmed hair, underneath the identical helmet all wore in combination with the same desertpaterned uniforms). Concerning the main characters, this problem is solved by giving one a babyface, another a mowhawk hairsyle and british-like moustache and another a beard etc. The more you watch the the less this problem becomes The other flaw are the special effects, these are really bad. BUT I must say that didn't annoy me.

The story is easy to follow, even the flashbacks are easily spotted. The acting is good (for me I watched bodylanguage, facial expressions and intonation of voice, what else can you do when you don't understand the language) The actionscenes are very impreessive especially those with lots and lots of people fighting. The music is great as well, maybe no John Williams, but more than adequate enough to accompany any feeling a scene should return, whether it's a gentle look between 2lovers or an all out end battle

Great movie -I'm still impressed!

Reviewed by ExpendableMan 8 / 10

An engrossing Eastern war epic

Thailand is fast making a name for itself in the International film market thanks to the success of a certain Mr Jaa in a film called Ong Bak. If you are reading this review, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that you will know exactly what I'm on about and will be nodding your head in agreement, smiling to yourself as you recall the head-splintering chaos that that martial arts thrill ride provided us with but despite all it's successes, Ong Bak really was quite a low budget feature and it's limitations were plain to see. Bang Rajan however is an entirely different kettle of fish. It is not another martial arts movie but a war film set in the 18th century and having been made several years previously, was Thailand's first major attempt to secure its reputation as a movie-making rival to the likes of Hollywood and Hong Kong. And unlike the Tony Jaa star vehicle, it has the budget behind it to stand toe-to-toe with any of its rivals.

Set just before the fall of Thailand's old capital city Ayuttaya to the invading Burmese army, the film tells the story of the people of Bang Rajan, a large village that despite insurmountable odds stood up to the approaching horde. With legions of soldiers marching on their doors, the untrained, poorly equipped and vastly outnumbered villagers still managed to give the Burmese a brutal lesson in Thai hospitality and their story has become a popular example of patriotism in their home country, so needless to say the transition to screen makes for a rip-roaring war film.

To this end, director Tanit Jitnukul resists the urge to focus on solitary figures and instead concentrates on a small number of characters from various backgrounds to represent the Bang Rajan community. There's Taen; the elderly leader who is injured early on in the running time but still manages to be a significant player in the proceedings, Chan; the jungle warrior who succeeds Taen and becomes the figurehead of their resistance, Inn; a younger warrior who fights to defend his newly pregnant wife, Taeng-Onn; the village drunk whose slovenliness masks the highly-skilled axe man lurking within him and numerous other characters who all get plenty of scope, illustrating that it is not just the warriors who are effected by battle but the wives, priests, elderly and children as well. This is one of the film's strongest points and allows it to illustrate a whole patchwork of emotions and situations affected by the chaos. And it is difficult to pick a highlight because no actor ever really outshines any of the rest, you come to care about all of them and when the deaths inevitably occur, some are very sad to behold.

But of course, emotional depth is one thing but what everybody really comes to Bang Rajan for is fighting and boy does it deliver. The opening ruck sets the tone instantly as the two opposing armies clash in the middle of a muddy field that soon becomes a mass of flailing limbs and blood-drenched bodies that is all watched by a steadicam that rolls and pivots with the warriors as muddy water splashes the lens. It may be a lesson in camera-work lifted straight from Saving Private Ryan but nonetheless, it is highly effective in taking you right into the heart of the maelstrom. Later skirmishes in the jungle lose none of the brutality as axes and swords are used in ever-more inventive ways to destroy human bodies and the whole thing climaxes in glorious fashion in the jaw dropping final battle. The last Burmese assault flings itself upon the walls of Bang Rajan, cannon fire erupting all around, blowing apart people and buildings as the people we've known for the last two hours contort and die in a hideous barrage of limb-chopping insanity.

As far as action goes then, Bang Rajan is definitely an impressive romp and as an Eastern alternative to the bloated, over-stylised likes of Alexander or Troy, it is the far superior choice. Provided you are confident in your sexuality enough to put up with the sight of around two hundred half-naked men getting covered in mud and sweat for two hours, you'll find a good-old fashioned war story with a great big ruck at the end.

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