Just in with my latest Malaysian DVD shipment, we have the new Thai Fantasy Romance, “Deep In The Jungle” aka “Naak” from Thailand’s Phranakorn Films.
Our synopsis reads:“Nawin, an army secret service agent decided to withdraw from a scientific investigation because of unlawful procedures that involved International forces. Although he had tried desperately to avoid the illegal acts of the armed forces, it seems the harder he tried the more involved he became. He was constantly under surveillance no matter where he went or what he did which made him realize there was more to the situation that meets the eye.
Jin, a young woman who Nawin once saved from a brutal attack is undergoing a strange transformation within her body as her blood circulates through mutation. This transformation on Jin, is what Nawin believes the International forces are after. The half breed mix between animal and human.
Nawin decides to help Jin by taking her back to her birth place. As he leads her home, her illness seems to subside. They will soon grow close and fall in love. When it comes time for Nawin to choose between her and his life, he awakes to find that it has all been an image of his imagination…or was it?”
Hmmmm? Certainly sounds like this lil Catgirl’s kind of movie…. so naturally I wasted no time in watching it as soon as it arrived. Was it up to my expectations? Let’s all find out then, shall we?
We get a cryptic start here… with some mythological flashback romance thingee between some hunky guy and a scared girl being chased to the edge of a cliff by some pissed off villagers. They convince him to abandon the girl, it seems she’s not actually… completely….. human….. Devastated by his betrayal, she falls from the cliff just as the guy realizes what an utter dumbass he is for treating her so shabbily. Cue the credits!!
First we get a voice-over tells us all about these two snake-god children, Jin and Jai, the last of their kind who are destined to roam the earth in human form until the time when the all nine planets reach a mystical alignment. Then they’ll feel drawn to return to the sacred cave in the mountains and finish their transformation into the giant serpents that are the true form of the Nagas. Got it? Okie dokie then…..
And then before you can blink, we’re in the present day jungles of Burma (or Myanmar if you prefer)…. somewhere waaaay, waaaay out in the boondocks, with some commando guys sneaking around what looks to be the camp of a group of unnamed bandits, drug smugglers, or human traffickers. You know the type of scumbags we’re talking about… all bad and nasty and just the sort of thugs you hope get soooo killed in large numbers in a film like this. Just when it looks like it’s time to whack these guys, they get visited by some other scumbags…. not the low rent type, nope these guys are a decidedly different kettle of fish. Worse, our hero, Nawin, (played by Jesadaporn Pholdee) the leader of the special forces, recognizes their head honcho, Manus (played by Pasin Ruengwut). They’ve got “history” you see…. and you know that just can’t be good in a movie like this. Manus’ “men in black” are here looking for somebody…. and they find her in amongst a pitiful group of refugees caught by the bandits. A beautiful prisoner, (played by Ploy Jindachote) who seems like she’s in bad, bad, BAAAD need of saving. What Nawin doesn’t know, or couldn’t even suspect, is that pretty prisoner is actually that very same little girl, … errr?… snakegirl…. errrr?… whatever. Before he can decide to do anything though, he gets orders from his commanders to back off…. seems they are privy to the goings on down in the camp. But then aren’t they always?
But what self respecting action hero could just let things go that easily? One well placed shot later and Nawin and his guys are running for the Thai border in a gunfight for their lives. They escape… just barely, but Manus knows it’s his old “buddy” screwing with him…. and that just means it time to show him who’s higher on the food chain. Nawin escapes… but not without getting shot up pretty bad.
Naturally he’s now in some real trouble. First thing that happens? Some helpful doctor tries to kill him. Yep…. seems the “powers that be” want Nawin, his guys, and all the people who know anything about Jin dead…. Luckily Nawin’s a tough guy… and he’s got the help of the only one of his men still alive who shoots the “doctor”, and tells Nawin to trust nobody but their old friend Sergeant Dang, who left the service some time past, but who still knows all about those dirty little secrets that the black ops boys try to hide so well.
What we get for the next 40 minutes or so, is a big pissing match between Nawin and Manus as they both try to find and keep Jin away from the other… Manus wanting her for his mysterious Western backed superiors (read evil CIA) and Nawin who wants first to thwart his rival, but who eventually comes to feel love for the mysterious Jin. Throw in Jin’s brother Jai sneaking around looking for her as well, killing anybody stupid enough to get in his way and you get a fairly simple, yet well done bloody love triangle that you just know can’t end well for anybody.
Eventually the planets all align…. Jin feels the need to return to the ancient cave of her ancestors, with Manus and his goons, and Jai all following close behind. There’s barely time for the obligatory “back to nature” sequence as Nawin and Jin spend some idyllic time living simply as guy and girl in love with the peaceful hill people before a brutal atrocity filled raid by Manus and the military kill everybody but them.
So…. how does this all end? Well, if you think Neko’s gonna tell you, you are just sooo outta luck. Let’s just say this…. when the girl of your dreams is, in reality, a giant snake, your love life is just soooo gonna suck. Big time.
Hmmmm. So lets see then…. did I enjoy this one you ask? Well, by now you all know I’m a sucker for these weird romance stories… and although this one didn’t have a whole lotta meaningful romance between Nawin and Jin, it was sorta OK.
I managed to see this one on the Malay disc, which, I have to say, was actually an excellent bargain with a nice price (8$ US), a letterboxed image, and yes… those wonderful english subtitles I so need and love (also surprisingly accurate and well done for a Malay disc I might add). Neko gives the overall film a firm 3 “Meows” out of 5. Had they actually had more to the love story I might have gone a whole “Meow” more, but then, you takes what you get sometimes…. (but “Chinese Ghost Story” calibre this one just ain’t… Sigh.)
Before we wrap this one up, I just had to hunt down a Trailer for ya, just to keep things all cozy and familiar!! So enjoy the snaky romance action!!