A recent Region 1 release of this Thai Action/horror mash-up by Magnet finally slipped into this little Catgirl’s mailbox, waited patiently in my “to watch” pile, and since I’m just nutty for such goofy films I finally just had to give “Opapatika” aka “Demon Warriors” a try.
Our synopsis goes along these lines: “Detective Techit’s biggest case calls for the ultimate sacrifice – his life. In order to investigate the existence of mysterious spirits called Opapatikas, he must follow them to their dwelling in eternal limbo. When an otherworldly warrior promises Techit incredible powers of intuition upon entering the spirit world, he leaps at the chance to be a better detective, committing suicide and using death as a doorway into the supernatural world populated by ghouls, warriors and spirits. Once there, Techit becomes involved in intense and violent battles with the immortal Opapatikas, and quickly discovers that each time he fights one, he loses one of his five mortal senses. Surrounded by enemies and running out of power, Techit must conquer the afterlife or face an eternity of misery.“
Hmmm? So how come it’s taken me soooo long to get around to this one? I usually jump on most Thai films pretty quickly, once I can find them with some decent subtitles, but for some reason I passed on the earlier releases and didn’t snag a copy until I was grabbing some Region 1 DVD’s in my mail orders just the beginning of October…… and then it took some time for me to actually get the chance to watch it. (Bad, bad kitty!!!)
But watch it I now have, and it’s time to weigh in my my two cents on this one. So…. did your Favorite Catgirl Princess like it? Yeah…. you know what’s next, silly….. you just gotta “Read On” if you wanna know!!
Now… the DVD itself tries to sell this Thai film as being just like “X-Men”….. But as with much of such advertising, that’s really just a whole bunch of… er… ummmm… “fertilizer”… if you get my meaning. It’s not a superhero movie at all…. it’s a straight up Thai actioner with a supernatural element added for a bit of spicy flavor. In this case, reanimated dead guys, each with their own singular freaky magical ability. I’m not really certain who is even considered the “hero” in this one as they don’t actually go very much into the background of these guys, or even focus on any specific one of them. And that’s a problem…..
“Opapatika” is certainly atmospheric and stylish…. with some nifty different folklore… but somewhere they forgot to build in any lead in for the story. Detective Techit starts right off putting a bullet in his head in some deserted building….. Why did he do this? We never actually do find out…. A bit of back-story here would have made it a lot easier to accept a plot where guys are told that if they commit suicide they’ll come back from beyond the grave complete with a nifty magic power. Do you get to pick it?…. Nope. Do you even know what it’s gonna be before you kill yourself?…. Nope. Not only that…. but your one secret power also comes with a terrible downside to pay it off….. and naturally you don’t know what that’s gonna be either…. I’d hate to be the doofus who, say, slits his throat only to gain the mystic ability to talk to plants ( who are notoriously dull and uninformed…) but only if flowers grow out of your nose every time you do it….. Sigh.
Anyway…. our boy Techit (played by Leo Putt), strikes a deal with the mysterious Sadok to locate 4 other specific Opapatikas….. again why is never made clear….. and the bulk of the film deals with that. Techit shoots himself in the head and gains the power to read minds….. but each time he uses it he loses one of his other senses permanently…. boy what a crappy deal that was…. He and Sadok’s chief henchman the vicious mercenary Tuwachit (played by Pongpat Wachirabunjong), are in pursuit of Jiras (played by Somchai Kemglad) who has the power of immortality and regenerates every time he gets himself killed; Paisol (played by Shahkrit Yamnarm) an assassin whose power is to know the one vulnerable point of anyone he sees, allowing him to kill anyone with a single attack, but whose curse also causes him to suffer the same wound (painful, but strangely not fatal) on his own body; Arus (played by Ray MacDonald) who is a split personality….psychotic killer with super speed by night, and weak, inoffensive and gentle man during the daytime; and Ramil (played by Athip Nana) who can release his own demonic soul from his body, and use it to fight for him while his real body stands catatonic and vulnerable.
Ah…… and then there’s the mysterious piano playing beauty Pran….. All the Opapatika’s…(with the exception of Jiras) are absolutely smitten with her seemingly ethereal beauty and intimate understanding of each of them and their problems…. What’s her story? Well, we do find out at the very end, but it is part of sort of an overall silly plot twist that doesn’t really ring true. Can’t really explain without giving away the ending…. and if you plan on seeing this one you’ll need something to look forward to.
So…. what do we get for our time here? Well… some fairly elaborate fight scenes mostly…. and nifty they truly are. The Thai’s certainly know how to lay the serious smackdown on people when push comes to shove. We get knife fights…. gun fights…. some kickboxing…. and a whole bunch of neat stunts. We even get to see what happens when the guy who knows how to kill anybody instantly tries his luck on the immortal guy…. Yep. No kidding.
All in all, this one is just an OK film. With some extra character development and a wee bit of backstory to get us involved and interested in any of these characters it could have been a really good film that would make me want to see more…. but while it’s technically well made, I have to give “Opapatika” an average 3 “Meows” out of 5…. mostly for some nice visuals and stunt work…. tasty and nice, but still only eye candy junk food. Magnet’s Region 1 DVD is up to their usual excellent standards…. letterboxed, uncut and with both an English audio dub as well as the original Thai with English subtitles on board for we connoisseurs. There’s a good “Making of” feature and some additional Trailers….. (One for “Big Man Japan” that certainly has this lil’ Catgirl interested….)
Trailer? Hehehehe…. as if I’d let you guys go without one….