The soft music of flutes fill the incense scented air and that can only mean one thing…..your favorite Catgirl Princess is back with another review of an asian flavored goody from the mysterious DVD land of Thailand……..
This time out it’s “The Legend of Sudsakorn” which showed up in my mailbox and which I’ve finally been able to watch after a particularly difficult bit of self subtitling on my part….
Were my days of irritated hair pulling and unladylike swearing worth it? I guess it’s time to find out…….
As with most recent Thai offerings, this Region 3 PAL formatted disc from Thailand comes without English subtitles…..(I know….I know….you’re getting pretty tired of hearing me bitch about it…..but it’s reallly, really annoying!!!!) This one though, was one of those that for some inexplicable reason has just refused to pop up anywhere else………and trust me, this Catgirl has been looking.
Lets start with the synopsis…… “Sudsakorn is a curious young man, raised in the ancient traditions of magic by his mystical grandfather. He never knew his father, only a void where the loving memories should be. His mother, a beautiful mermaid is pained by his sadness, so sends him on a quest to find his father. Armed with his grandfather’s magical weaponry Sudsakorn sets off into the mysterious world of yore on his trusty steed, Ma Nin Mangkorn, a half dragon, half horse. What starts as a simple quest soon turns into an amazing adventure, and a fight for survival against the dark forces of the ancient world.
Old Siam is a terrifying and dangerous place, especially for wizards and warlocks. Danger soon crosses Sudsakorn’s path to finding his father. Sudsakorn encounters a heinous and deadly creature, and must use his magical powers to defeat the foul beast, and continue his journey. The display of power doesn’t go unnoticed and Sudsakorn is persuaded to fight monsters and demons by the king of an ancient city.
With his new found mission to protect the innocent, and slay all evil that plagues the land, his quest to find his father is put on hold. But can Sudsakorn’s power last, or will the forces of evil defeat him before he finds his father? Sudsakorn must fight to stay alive, before he too falls victim the treachery of the ancient world… “
Sounds good right?…..Well then of course you are gonna want to read on !!!
I have to admit….I have been wanting to see this effort by director Kaisorn Buranasing ever since I saw the earlier Thai fantasy, “Phra Apaimanee” with it’s magical flute playing hero, giants, mermaids, and deadly martial art monks. This one picks up after that film, and details the story of Prince Apaimanee’s son Sudsakorn, after he leaves his mom the mermaid and goes in search of his famous dad.
Little Sudsakorn is played by Thai child star Charlie Trairat who most will recognize from the Thai horror film, “Dorm”. This is an earlier performance by Charlie, and it shows, but he is a likeable enough protagonist, I just wish they had given him a bit more to work with…..
Unfortunately, this film tends to skip around quite a bit, and the script is both choppy and abbreviated with many holes in the story that never seem to get explained. The film makes little effort to explain the background to the story….mostly as I assume this tale is probably well known in Thailand itself, but unless you’ve seen the earlier “Phra Apaimanee” you are likely to be lost on some of the details.
Part of the story revolves around Prince Apaimanee’s capture by evil king Usaren and even I was a bit vague as to why that was happening.
But enough wondering….lets look at Sudsakorn’s journey…..
He starts by capturing a magical Dragon-horse. Very handy if you’ve got a lot of territory to cover, as said horsey can gallop endlessly across the sea, swim beneath it like a fish, or just gallop overland like a racehorse…..This is part of the many CG effects scattered throughout, and while a bit fake looking at times, serves well enough to be called a “Special Effect”.
The other main character is an evil hermit monk, the Naked Fakir of Panom Island, who befriends Sudsakorn only as a pretext to stealing the Dragon-horse and Sudsakorn’s magic cane…..(think magic wand and lightsaber all rolled into one)… and he tries to cover this up by murdering our little hero…..never a good way to cement a friendship.
After riding away, he ends up wandering into a kingdom in need of a prophesied hero…..(little Sudsakorn of course but hey, don’t know that) still, the people are impressed by the Fakir and welcome him with open arms.
Naturally Sudsakorn survives falling off a cliff, wakes up and follows the crook, where he meets the child Prince and Princess of the kingdom who naturally agree to help him regain his stuff.
There’s a cute bit where the kids do just that from the sleeping Fakir, but then there’s the requisite capture by the king……prove who is the hero……agree to fight the evil carnivorous butterfly demon women….(wait a minute? Butterfly demons!?!)
Yep…..perhaps the coolest part of the movie…… evil carnivorous butterfly demon women….I kid you not. You haven’t seen prettier monsters in any movie….anywhere. I promise! Hehehehe…..
These things live on some far off island where they seem to mostly catch and eat scuzzy pirates, but the movie tells us they are a great threat, so who is this lil’ Catgirl to dispute it?
Anyway….Sudsakorn decides to go and use his magic cane to whup these critters for his new friends, and naturally the little princess gets carried away during the first attack.
Sudsakorn leaps on his mighty Dragon-horsey and it’s off to smack Butterfly monster girls…..I wish the other warrior guys could have gotten in on this, but it’s over pretty quickly and then our hero has to say goodbye, as he’s late for the climactic battle between invading King Usaren and Prince Apaimanee’s brother and his big ol’ army…….(strange since he doesn’t even know about the trouble dear ol’ dad is in……)
The mystic warrior monks from the earlier movie get in on the action here with their special kung fu, but it’s all pretty well a done deal as Usaren plans to kill Apaimanee unless his brother surrenders……
But wait!! Look….up on the hill….riding like his butt is on fire, Sudsakorn arrives just in time to save the day, smacking all the bad guys with his mystic cane, snatching Apaimannee from certain death, and getting to do the whole re-uniting with the dad he’s never known……
Whew…..all in about 85 minute too. That I think is the trouble with this one. It’s over waaaay toooo soooon. They script was too abbreviated for the material…… I think the Thai writers should have taken a closer look at “Lord of the Rings”…..this one certainly didn’t need three movies to tell it, but 2 to 3 hours might have been about right.
As it is, “Sudsakorn” feels rushed….it’s pretty to look at, and if it were available in a subtitled form, I’d recommend a look, if you could get a copy. I felt my time in subtitling it wasn’t wasted….but then not everyone likes truly weird movies as much as this girl. A better choice might be to grab the earlier film “Phra Apaimanee” which is now sadly out of print, I think, but copies still can be found at some overseas DVD stores. It’s not as visually stunning as Sudsakorn can be at it’s best, but it’s a more easily understood film (and subtitled…Yay!!).
All in all, Neko gives “The Legend of Sudsakorn” a firm 3 “Meows” out of 5, with a special purr for the Butterfly Demons…..(Neko loves pretty monsters!! Sooo unique!!)
As always….I leave you with the Trailer…..courtesy of Youtube…..